Technology

HTC and Google cancel wireless VR headset release in the US

HTC and Google cancel wireless VR headset release in the US

Back in May, we learned that Google would be teaming up with HTC to launch a standalone virtual reality headset built for Google's "Daydream" platform. At the moment, the device, which was initially teased at Google I/O 2017 in May, will be available exclusively in China. As it turned out, he wasn't, and that this was purely a logistical decision in favor of an apparently huge market opportunity - one that's buried deep underneath a pile of random Chinese VR headsets.

That set of rumours and leaks has now become reality with HTC's announcement of the HTC Vive Focus; a standalone VR headset with its own display, processor, and other hardware built-in.

HTC's standalone headsets weren't much of a secret really.

We already knew that the Focus packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 with instant on support, and now we're told that it also features a "high-resolution" AMOLED screen plus a rotational head strap that's similar to the Vive's Deluxe Audio Strap. HTC's departure from the Daydream platform is a slight blow to Google's standalone headset plans, though.

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Vive Wave VR is utilized by the Vive Focus and features content built specifically for the platform by more than 35 Chinese and worldwide VR content developers.

Instead, the headset is powered by a program called the Vive Wave, which appears to serve as an operating system and content platform for developers to create games for the headset. However, since the Vive Focus is an independent device, it brings an "unlimited freedom of mobility while reducing the total cost" for end users. Right now the headset is only planned for launch in China, but that will likely change in due time.

HTC has additionally partnered with VR development platform Unity Technologies to enable one-click publishing of VR content on to Viveport library, through which the developments will directly debut on the Vive Wave platform. It's a standalone headset and has inside-out 6-degrees-of-freedom tracking, which means it doesn't need to be connected to a gaming PC or use external sensors to work.

Just make sure you're ok with waiting, because with no word on HTC Focus VR being released outside of China - and no official release date for that part of the world - you may still be waiting a little longer than you'd like. It also comes with a 3DoF Bluetooth controller.


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