HTC Teases New Vive “Move” Hardware
HTC has published a first teaser of a new VR hardware on its Twitter profile.
It's your move. pic.twitter.com/BEdC37BiTb
— HTC VIVE (@htcvive) March 4, 2021
Following the launch and the unimpressive performance of its Vive Cosmos series, there have been persistent rumors that HTC may be planning to launch new virtual reality headsets in the market, possibly a standalone device to compete with the recently launched and hugely successful Oculus Quest 2 headset.
The clearest sign that HTC is working on new VR hardware came at the end of last year via an FCC application. Although the exact content of the application isn’t known yet, it at least reveals that HTC is working on some hardware with a Vive name.
Now HTC is teasing the first picture of a new Vive hardware complete with the teaser “It’s your move”. The ‘move’ could be a pointer to something that is related to movement. It could be a new tracker or probably a new kind of controllers or even a new standalone headset with a large roomscale (and wireless freedom of movement). Or, perhaps, it could be all of these combined.
At the beginning of 2020, HTC showcased a concept study for the slim mixed reality glasses Proton which should run independently or on the computer. In September 2020, Geekbench score for a standalone Vive Focus with an XR2 chip appeared. This is the same chip that’s also on the Oculus Quest 2 headset. HTC hasn’t announced a Vive Focus with an XR2 chip so far and it is therefore possible that a prototype of the upcoming VR headset has been subjected to a benchmark test.
In November 2020, HTC’s China Vice President Alvin Wang Graylin also confirmed that HTC plans to launch new virtual reality hardware this year but he didn’t reveal the target group and the design for the new device.
In December 2020, Graylin doubled on his earlier comments and promised a groundbreaking VR headset for 2021 that would take virtual reality to “the next level.” He had said that the new HTC headset would be as exciting as the first HTC Vive had been six years ago.
HTC’s allusion to the disruptive innovation of the first Vive in reference to its “next level” VR headset should be exciting news for VR enthusiasts. It suggests that the new headsets will include some new exciting technical innovations. The original HTC Vive headset was a “next-level” device in its own right, providing users with room-filling tracking and VR controllers that were cutting-edge at the time.
HTC hasn’t revealed whether the new device will be targeting the consumer or the enterprise market.
In the consumer market, HTC will be facing an uphill task going head-to-head against the domineering Oculus brand which has quickly zoned in on the consumer market with a series of high-spec and well-timed launches. However, there might be some space in the market for consumers looking for a virtual reality headset that can work without the requirement of a Facebook account.
HTC would have better prospects in the B2B market environment where Facebook’s data policies are often viewed critically. HTC can try and position its VR hardware as a privacy-friendly alternative. The current HTC Vive Focus headset primarily targets the enterprise market.
HTC is also participating in Qualcomm’s XR initiative that aims to produce new XR glasses for PC and standalone usage. Among other things, HTC’s Vive Wave programming interface already runs by default on Qualcomm’s reference designs. Recently, Qualcomm also introduced new AR reference glasses for PC and smartphone which are based on the slower XR1 chip.