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HTC Vive Focus standalone VR headset launched

15 November 2017, 12:52 | Megan Pierce

Clay Bavor Verified account @claybavor

Clay Bavor

Full specs haven't yet been confirmed, but HTC has said that the standalone headset will utilise the firm's newly-announced Vive Wave VR open platform and Viveport store to access apps and content. "We still have a great relationship with Google, but will not be bringing a standalone device to the western markets on Daydream", an HTC spokesperson told TechCrunch. The standalone VR headset can be connected to other units for social interaction, and in a classroom setting, this could be used for teachers doing demonstrations.

So why is HTC ditching the US?

What's more, the HTC Vive Focus is equipped with inbuilt water-repellent padding and instant-on support. For one it will only come with 3 Degree of Freedom controllers, with 6 DoF controllers only possible via external tracking stations (which will be supported as additional accessories), which makes somewhat of a joke of the world-scale capabilities of the Vive Focus.

In addition to providing 6DoF, the Vive Focus is not tethered to a computer, as a result, wearers will have increased mobility with the headset on. According to Alvin Wang Graylin, the China President for HTC Vive, the Vive Focus will allow wearers to do most of the things that they could do with a VR headset on a high-end PC. The VR industry has been leaning towards standalone headsets for the past month with Oculus recently announcing the Go with a price tag of $199.

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Meanwhile, Lenovo is still expected to release a standalone headset under the Google WorldSense banner - which Bavor insists is still coming - but we doubt we'll see that device until 2018. VP of VR Clay Bavor later reconfirmed the news.

Unfortunately, the Vive Focus is only heading to China for now with no word on if and when it will come to the United Kingdom or US. The Vive Focus is a completely self-contained solution with all of the necessary hardware integrated to the headset itself, including a high-resolution AMOLED screen and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 system-on-chip (SoC). Instead HTC is getting together with 35 Chinese and global content developers to produce Vive Wave optimised content. It is an open interface that is created to allow interoperability between numerous mobile headsets and accessories. In China, HTC has secured 12 hardware partners to build Vive Wave compatible devices. However, the Vive requires a connection to a PC to use, which is a barrier for many potential users.

HTC's Vive Focus will use the HTC Vive Wave VR platform.



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