HTC is getting ready to release the Vive Focus standalone VR headset. The company announced that it would open pre-orders next week and begin shipping headsets in January.
The Vive Focus is HTC’s first attempt at a standalone VR HMD. The company initially partnered with Google to create a Vive-branded headset that would operate on Google’s Daydream VR platform. HTC also planned to release the same headset in China that would operate on its Viveport platform.
Somewhere along the line, HTC backed down from its partnership with Google and abandoned the idea of building a headset for Daydream, but it’s pushing forward with the Viveport version for China. Last month, HTC revealed the Vive Focus headset and announced that it would be available soon. Now we know the specifications and the price of the hardware.
HTC’s Vive Focus headset is a standalone headset that doesn’t require a host device such as a smartphone or PC. The Vive Focus gets its compute power from a Snapdragon 835 SoC embedded in the headset. The headset also offers untethered 6-DoF “world-scale” tracking provided by two front-facing cameras.
The Snapdragon 835 SoC has no hope of delivering the same performance that a high-end gaming PC can for the Vive. However, the Vive Focus features a higher resolution AMOLED display and newly designed lenses. It remains to be seen, but the Vive Focus may offer a crisper, clearer display than the original Vive headset.
Curiously, HTC did not reveal how much RAM it installed in the Vive Focus. It also neglected to mention how munch internal storage space is available. The headset does offer expandable storage via a MicroSD slot, though, that can support cards up to 2TB.
HTC also revealed information about the battery life for the first time. The company didn’t announce the specifications of the battery pack, though, we would imagine it would be a lithium-ion power pack because it supports fast-charging over USB type-C. HTC said that the device would offer up to 3 hours of active use, and more than seven days of standby time between charges.
The Vive Focus also includes a 9-axis wand controller with a touch pad, App button, Home button, volume controllers, and a trigger. HTC said that the controller lasts up to 30 hours on two AA batteries.
HTC has yet to reveal its plans to bring standalone VR to the North American market (if it has any), but the company is preparing to release the Vive Focus standalone HMD in China early next year. HTC announced that pre-orders for the Vive Focus would begin on December 12. The company plans to run the pre-order campaign until January 12, 2018. It did not reveal the exact shipping date, but HTC expects to deliver headsets in January. HTC said that pre-ordered devices would include four free titles to sweeten the deal.
Along with the release date, HTC revealed that there would be two versions of the Vive Focus. HTC is offering an Electric Blue version, which would sell for ¥4,299 (approximately $649) and an Almond White version, which would sell for ¥3,999 (approximately $605). As far as we can tell, both headsets boast the same hardware specifications, so it appears that the blue version costs more simply because of the color.