HTC today announced that the Vive Focus standalone VR headset would hit the global market later this year. Registered Viveport developers can order Vive Focus dev kits today.
Last year, Google revealed that HTC was developing a standalone VR headset for the Google Daydream platform. HTC was supposed to be the first to market with a standalone Daydream headset, but at some point during development, the company reversed course and abandoned its agreement with Google. HTC didn’t give up on standalone VR, but the company refocused its efforts towards the booming VR market in china.
When HTC released the Vive Focus in December 2017, the company insisted that the Vive Focus headset would be available only in China. However, we had a feeling the device may eventually come to North America because HTC brought the Vive Focus to CES, Mobile World Congress, and GDC to show it to the press and woo developers. Today, HTC confirmed that the Vive Focus would be coming to America, and indeed, the rest of the world.
HTC’s Vive Focus headset is the first full-featured standalone VR headset on the market and its one of the first devices on the market to emerge from Qualcomm’s VR Accelerator Program. The Vive Focus features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, a 2880x1600 75Hz AMOLED display, and inside-out 6-degrees of freedom spatial tracking to provide a fully-untethered world-scale VR experience. The standalone HMD also includes a 9-axis tracked motion controller for interaction with experiences.
Vive Wave Development Platform
Though HTC is back on the saddle to bring the Vive Focus to North America, the company hasn’t renewed its plans with Google to bring the Vive Focus to Daydream. HTC’s headset operates on the company’s Viveport content distribution platform, and it intends to keep it that way for the global release.
HTC recently created an open development platform for mobile VR devices called Vive Wave, which integrates with the Viveport content distribution system and enables developers to deploy content on the platform. Content for the Vive Focus headset must be developed with the Vive Wave SDK and distributed through Viveport.
Vive Wave is a hardware agnostic VR SDK that allows developers to support a variety of devices. In China, the Vive Wave platform supports several VR devices, and content built with the Vive Wave SDK should work seamlessly with any supported device. We’re not aware of any other Vive Wave-enabled VR devices coming to North America, but HTC has other ways to entice the development community.
The Vive Focus headset is currently available only in China, but developers from around the world can make content for it. HTC wants to attract developers who wish to break in the VR market in China, and it’s offering a great revenue share promotion. Developers who deploy software through the Viveport platform between April and September 2018 will enjoy 100% rev-share. In turn, content released for the China market now will be available globally when HTC releases the Vive Focus abroad.
Price & Availability
We don’t yet know how much the Vive Focus will cost around the world, but we can use the price in China as a guidepost for a guess. HTC sells two versions of the Vive Focus in China. The Electric Blue version sells for ¥4,299.00 ($678.94) and the almond white version sells for ¥3,999 ($631.56). We'd like to believe that the device would cost less when it lands on our shores, but given the price of the Vive Pro, we’re not holding our breath for a budget price tag.
HTC didn’t say when the Vive Focus would be available globally, but the company is now offering developer kits to registered Viveport developers, so we don’t expect a long wait before the headset makes its way to consumers.