HTC’s stand-alone Vive Focus VR headset hits markets outside China in 2018

Vive Focus

During the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, HTC said that its stand-alone virtual reality headset, the Vive Focus, will be made available to purchase outside China later this year. To get content creators started, the developers kit is available now via HTC’s dedicated portal for all registered developers in “most countries.” 

The Vive Focus is a collaboration between HTC and Qualcomm to provide an untethered VR experience. It was originally intended to be a stand-alone Daydream headset supporting Google’s WorldSense environment-tracking technology, but HTC instead jumped off the Google bandwagon and produced a stand-alone VR headset specifically for China relying on its own room-tracking technology. 

But don’t get too excited just yet. The Vive Focus won’t be on the same visual level as the company’s Vive and Vive Pro headsets for PC. In a sense, it’s a step up from the likes of Samsung’s Gear VR headset, only you don’t need a smartphone for the Vive Focus. It’s a self-contained unit to enjoy virtual reality without the annoying wires associated with PC-tethered, high-definition headsets. 

Outside the removal of wires, the big selling point with the Vive Focus is that it supports six degrees of freedom: Left, right, up, down, forward, and backward. Built-in sensors essentially let you physically wander without the worries of bumping into walls, stumbling over furniture, or smacking friends and family with the included controllers. It also relies on HTC’s Viveport platform for content distribution rather than Google Play. 

Under the hood, HTC’s headset relies on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 mobile processor and a single AMOLED screen with a 2,880 x 1,600 resolution (1,440 x 1,600 per eye). Other features include a built-in microphone, built-in speakers, a 3.5mm audio jack, a built-in rechargeable battery, a Micro SD card slot supporting up to 2TB of storage, and Wireless AC connectivity. 

Currently, the Vive Focus is sold exclusively in China priced at $680 for the Electric Blue model and $632 for the Almond White version. Unfortunately, we don’t have specific release dates and local pricing for these units outside China just yet. 

“Vive Focus is designed to appeal to a wider range of mass market audiences as well as commercial/enterprise users who want broad deployment and stunning VR experiences in a convenient and portable form factor,” the company says. 

In addition to revealing the international release news, HTC said that developers bringing their experiences to the PC-based Vive headsets and the Vive Focus in China will receive 100 percent of the revenue stemming from title sales and Viveport subscriptions. But the window of opportunity only stretches between April and September. HTC sees this as means of “empowering” developers to create better experiences for the Chinese audience. 

Despite the Vive Focus hitting the international market later this year, the headset is seemingly already outdated thanks to Qualcomm’s latest stand-alone VR headset reference design. It’s based on the newer Snapdragon 845 mobile processor and includes eye-tracking technology provided by Tobii, the same company that provides eye-tracking hardware for PC gamers. 

Product Review

Simple and reliable, Apple's AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds

Apple’s AirPods wireless headphones have dominated the market essentially since they hit stores in December 2016. Though not without some faults, they cracked the connectivity code to rank among the best fully wireless earbuds you can…
Gaming

New Sony patent suggests a wireless PSVR headset could be on the way

Images and documents in the Japan Patent Office appear to suggest that Sony is planning a wireless version of the PlayStation VR headset. It isn't clear which system it will be used for.
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Wearables

These are the best smartwatches for everything from fashion to fitness

Tempted to buy a smartwatch? If so, then the growing number of great models available means you've got plenty to choose from. But which one should you pick? Here is our list of the best smartwatches.
Computing

HP spring sale: Save up to 58 percent on laptops, desktops, printers, and more

From now until March 23, the HP spring sale lets you take as much as 58 percent off of a huge range of laptops, desktop PCs, printers, and more, potentially saving you more than $1,000. We’ve rounded up a dozen of the best deals right…
Computing

Yes, Apple’s new iMacs look great, but they do have one glaring problem

With processors ranging up to the eight-core Core i9, the 2019 iMac update looks like a pretty solid upgrade to Apple's classic all-in-one. But hidden in the details of the product page, there's one outdated component Apple is holding onto.
Computing

Grab 1 terabyte of SSD storage for just $100 with this sale on Amazon

If you're looking for an excellent opportunity to pick up a 1TB SSD at a low price, Amazon has you covered with Samsung's 860 QVO 1TB 2.5-inch SATA III Internal SSD. It is an excellent offering for both multimedia enthusiasts and gamers.
Computing

The iMac finally got updated, but how does it compare to the Mac mini?

Apple announced a long-awaited update to the Mac mini. Thanks to the updated specs and increase in price, it's begun to creep up to the base model iMac. In this guide, we now put up the specs on the newest refreshed Mac mini against the…
Computing

Here's our guide to how to charge your laptop using a USB-C cable

Charging via USB-C is a great way to power up your laptop. It only takes one cable and you can use the same one for data as well as power -- perfect for new devices with limited port options.
Computing

Pinning websites to your taskbar is as easy as following these quick steps

Would you like to know how to pin a website to the taskbar in Windows 10 in order to use browser links like apps? Whichever browser you're using, it's easier than you might think. Here's how to get it done.
Computing

Great PC speakers don't need to break the bank. These are our favorites

Not sure which PC speakers work best with your computer? Here are the best computer speakers on the market, whether you're working with a tight budget or looking to rattle your workstation with top-of-the-line audio components.
Computing

Should you buy the affordable MacBook Air, or is the MacBook Pro worth the price?

Though they both share Retina Displays and similar keyboards, there are still some specs differences and other changes that differentiate the new 2018 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. In this guide, we stack the two up against each other.
Computing

Changing a PDF into an EPUB file is easier than you might think

If you like to read on a tablet or ebook reader, you'll find that ePUB files offer a number of advantages over PDFs. With this guide, we'll show you how to convert a PDF to EPUB in a few quick steps.
Computing

Confused about RSS? Don't be. Here's what it is and how to use it

What is an RSS feed, anyway? This traditional method of following online news is still plenty useful. Let's take a look at what RSS means, and what advantages it has in today's busy world.