HTC has launched its long-rumored standalone VR headset, the Vive Focus at its Vive Developers Conference in Beijing, China. The headset is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 platform and supports inside-out tracking to enable 6 DOF (degrees of freedom) tracking in real time and without additional trackers. Alongside that reveal was the news that it would be supported by a new open platform called Vive Wave.
"As the VR industry leader in China, it is our duty to help reduce market fragmentation and provide content developers with more ways to make money", HTC Vive head Alvin Wang Graylin said in a statement regarding the news.
Unfortunately, HTC is still keeping some information close to the vest like the unit's price and when it will become available to the public.
Instead, the unit intends to tread the lines between power, portability, and affordability, which puts it in competition with some recently announced Oculus headsets, in particular the Project Santa Cruz and more affordable Oculus Go.
With 12 third-party hardware partners already supporting the platform, and over 35 developers already creating content for the platform, Wave's future is looking bright... at least in China. Unlike some other standalone VR headsets, you don't need your phone. They did not even release other specs about the headset like screen resolution or other features that will make it standout in the VR market. HTC said that the no-hassle publishing system would support Viveport for PC VR and mobile VR content. The company unveiled its standalone device at an event in China this evening, explaining that its new VR device gives people the freedom to enjoy virtual reality content wherever they are. While Oculus executives have outright noted that they are not particularly interested in making money off of hardware sales, there aren't many other options for HTC which has done a poor job of becoming a platform company in the United States despite being first-to-market.
But that's not to say that developers can't add 6DoF hand input to the Focus. We'll have an update as soon as we hear back from HTC, and stay tuned for our upcoming hands-on later.