HTC Vive Focus premium standalone VR headset launched

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HTC launches its long-time rumoured all-in-one standalone VR headset called Vive Focus in Vive Developer Conference in Beijing on Monday. 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.

Upgrading the HTC Vive's "room-scale" system to "world-scale", the new Vive Focus uses cameras positioned on the headset and facing outwards to map the environment and let the user navigate through virtual worlds, even if they are in a confined space. The company added that it has cancelled its plans for a Google Daydream VR headset, due to the launch of the Vive Focus. But on the other hand, building an ecosystem is far more complicated than building hardware, which is why HTC has taken the safer approach to focus on building up Vive Wave, and exclusively for China. Instead HTC is getting together with 35 Chinese and global content developers to produce Vive Wave optimised content.

Samsung's Gear VR built with the help of Oculus gets somewhat there, as does Google's Daydream VR platform, but you need a compatible phone for each, again incurring cost, not to mention the battery life problem each have. It should be the first standalone six-degrees-of-freedom VR headset to see release, though HTC isn't saying exactly when it'll be available. The company just announced the platform today, and according to HTC, it will "open up the path to easy mobile VR content development and high-performance device optimization for third-party partners". The VR industry has been leaning towards standalone headsets for the past month with Oculus recently announcing the Go with a price tag of $199. It comes with a 3DoF controller. Unity will now integrate with Viveport and provide a more intuitive way for Unity developers to use the new Vive Wave VR SDK.

Twelve hardware partners, including Quanta Computer Inc (廣達), Pimax, Nubia Technology Co Ltd (努比亞) and iQiyi (愛奇藝), have reportedly pledged their support for the integration of Vive Wave VR into their future products.