HTC revamps standalone VR headset to keep pace with Oculus while it looks to big business
HTC has had a little bit of a rough ride these past few years. After betting the farm on VR, the company has had to make some substantial business strategy shifts to keep the division kicking in the face of a less-than-robust headset market and a behemoth margin-less competitor that’s alright losing a few billion dollars.
HTC’s latest play, a revamped Vive Focus headset that features tracked motion controllers, could be seen simply as playing catch-up with Oculus and their upcoming Oculus Quest standalone headset, but it’s likely only aiming to keep pace with innovation to dissuade enterprise customers from switching teams.
The Vive Focus Plus maintains a lot of the system specs of the previous generation, but taps some souped-up “visuals” and an interesting new controller tracking system that relies on ultrasonic feedback rather than camera-based optical tracking to locate the controllers in 3D space. The tracking system is a bit peculiar-sounding, but Qualcomm built out support for the tech in its VR reference design headset and the Focus Plus is again powered by the Snapdragon 835 chipset, according to a spec list obtained by Road to VR.
Since launching the HTC Vive in 2016, HTC has gradually shifted its business to enterprise customers looking to outfit their organizations with headsets for training and design visualization purposes. The company has, at times, tried to play both sides, especially with its desktop VR hardware with pricing focused on enterprise customers but marketing aimed at consumers as well. That’s easier, given the Vive Pro’s compatibility with Valve’s SteamVR platform and the associated content, but HTC can’t just wander into a consumer mobile platform in the U.S. without a more concerted push.
No details on a release date or the enterprise pricing. The regular Vive Focus starts at $599.