HTC launches standalone VR headset Vive Focus with 6DoF tracking support

Wednesday, 15 Nov, 2017

Taiwanese consumer electronics company HTC Corp. unveiled its Vive Focus, a standalone virtual reality headset, at the Vive Developer Conference in Beijing on Tuesday.

HTC, however, has kept the other details of the Vive Focus under wraps, including its price and release date.

Meanwhile, the oft-teased HTC Vive Focus has a (predictable) name now, a number of (general) features revealed, but alas, no launch timeline whatsoever. But HTC did excel at capturing the enterprise side of the AR/VR market, which could explain backing away from a Daydream expansion.

This isn't the only bad news HTC had to announce on Monday, as it's also confirmed that it no plans to release a standalone Daydream Vive device. The Vive Focus is a head-mounted display equipped with 6 degrees-of-freedom, and world-scale tracking. With the Vive Wave SDK, vendors can integrate accessories - be it a Leap Motion, gloves or even outside-in solutions for 6DoF input (and potentially eye-tracking solutions as icing on the cake).

While the Vive Focus is a standalone device that is not connected to a computer or a smartphone, it has numerous same features as a high-end device, HTC said.

Last night, Clay Bavor, Google's VP of Virtual and Augmented Reality, confirmed via Twitter that HTC's Daydream headset would not see the light of day. This marks the first time HTC has created its own platform for VR experiences; the original Vive runs on Valve's SteamVR.

With the older Vive, users had to mount two base stations approximately 6ft in the air at either end of where they wanted to use the Vive, severely restricting its ease of use. On the software side, not only is it about optimizing performance for medium-level hardware to ensure sub-20ms latency, but it's also about making it as easy as possible for developers to port from Vive, Daydream or Samsung Gear VR.

In addition to providing 6DoF, the Vive Focus is not tethered to a computer, as a result, wearers will have increased mobility with the headset on.

The appeal of the Vive Focus goes beyond its standalone capabilities though.

"Now you can essentially do most of the things that you could do on a high-end machine on a standalone", HTC Vive China President Alvin Wang Graylin affirmed to Engadget.

Is this different from HTC Vive 2?