Some months back we heard talk of HTC planning to launch a standalone Vive VR headset, and at the time we also heard it would be a Chinese exclusive, at least initially.
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. Unlike the regular HTC Vive, which requires an extensive set up, including being plugged into powerful and expensive high-end gaming PC, the Vive Focus doesn’t have any wires and simply runs on its own.
The HTC Vive Focus is the first device to be part of HTC’s new Vive Wave platform. In China, HTC has secured 12 hardware partners to build Vive Wave compatible devices.
“Vive Wave will open up the path to easy mobile VR content development and device optimization for third-party partners,” said HTC, “So far, twelve hardware partners in China, including 360QIKU, Baofengmojing, Coocaa, EmdoorVR, Idealens, iQIYI, Juhaokan, Nubia, Pico, Pimax, Quanta and Thundercomm, announced their support for Vive Wave and integrating the VIVEPORT™ VR content platform into their future products.”
“Vive Wave is a clear step forward in bringing together the highly fragmented mobile VR market that has cropped up in China the last several years. It enables developers to create content for a common platform and storefront across multiple hardware vendors. Over 35 Chinese and global content developers have already built VR content optimized for Vive Wave.”
HTC says the Vive Focus uses an “inside-out” 6-degree-of-freedom (6DoF) tracking system – unlike the regular HTC Vive it doesn’t need the hardware positional sensors set up inside a room. HTC describes this as “world scale” as opposed to the HTC Vive’s “room scale” setup. The new headset also features a single hand-held motion controller rather than the regular Vive’s pair of “ladles”.
“Without the need to be attached to a PC or a phone, Vive Focus provides unlimited freedom of mobility while reducing the total cost for users to own a premium VR device.”
The internal hardware is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor using Qualcomm’s VR platform, making it quicker than key rival Oculus Go, which runs a Snapdragon 821. The display panels in front of your eyes are low-latency AMOLED, although HTC hasn’t revealed the resolution. Pricing and availability remain a mystery for now.