HTC’s stand-alone Vive Focus killed off its Daydream headset in the U.S.

Following Oculus’ reveal of its Go stand-alone headset, HTC has unveiled the Vive Focus headset, offering tracking capabilities similar to its high-end namesake, without the need for a smartphone or PC to power it. The only downside to this midrange headset design is that it appears to have killed off any chance of a Google Daydream-compatible HTC headset coming to the U.S.

At the end of 2017, the state of the virtual reality industry is becoming interesting. Although there is more content than ever before, many users still lament the lack of AAA titles and experiences and there are still far more mobile VR users than those wearing high-end, PC-based headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. With that in mind, it makes sense that HTC is looking to release something that will occupy the middle ground.

We learned earlier this year that HTC was working with Google on a Daydream-compatible headset, and that was expected to be the stand-alone design that was teased by HTC for so long. But as TechCrunch confirms, that’s no longer happening, at least in Western markets. The question now remains whether the Vive Focus will replace it, or if this represents a refocusing of its efforts to more lucrative Asian audiences.

Wherever it ends up releasing, the HTC Vive Focus, much like the Oculus Go, appears to target that relatively untapped mid-range market segment. It features similar hardware to Oculus’ portable offering, with a built-in processor and display, though HTC claims slightly more impressive specifications. Although we don’t have key details, the Focus is said to sport a “high-resolution AMOLED” display, which could offer better contrast than the Go’s LCD panel. We’re also told that the Focus will be capable of six-degrees-of-freedom (6DOF) movement, which means some form of inside-out positional tracking.

htc vive focus portable vr headset facebook asia

That’s not something offered by the Go and could be a big selling point for HTC’s new headset. Being able to walk around, so-called “roomscale tracking,” was a major component of the HTC Vive’s early success against the Rift. Having the same advantage over the Oculus Go could make the Vive Focus much more popular in turn.

Both the Go and the Focus utilize onboard processing to render their visuals. While we don’t know what powers the Oculus Go, we do know that the HTC Vive Focus will sport a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, which is a very capable mobile processor. It won’t stand up to a desktop PC’s power, but it should be enough to render some very pretty portable experiences.

The controller is not said to be tracked in the same manner as the headset, only offering three degrees of movement, but there is the potential for supporting more complex controller systems.

In terms of software, HTC hasn’t revealed what the Focus will be compatible with, but did say it could allow for social interaction with other HTC headsets, according to Engadget. With “world-scale” tracking, as HTC describes it, there’s no reason to think it couldn’t support a large part of the existing Vive library of experiences, too.

We don’t have any details on availability or pricing for the HTC Vive Focus as of yet, but it’s expected to debut somewhere around the $200 price point of the Oculus Go. As CNet points out though, it’s possible that the more capable tracking solution could support a slight price hike over the competition.

Update: Added mention of HTC Daydream headset cancellation.

Mobile

How beneficial is ECG in the new Apple Watch? We asked an expert

The Apple Watch Series 4 is packed with features that make it the best smartwatch on the market, but just how valuable is the new ECG and heart-tracking functionality? We spoke to some experts to find out.
Product Review

Lamborghini’s V12 flagship brings the shock and awe For SVJ duty

High-tech active aerodynamics, trick steering, and good old-fashioned horsepower help to make this Aventador the most track-capable production Lamborghini ever.
Wearables

WatchOS 5 comes with tons of new features -- here are our favorites

Months after Apple announced its latest software at WWDC, you can now download WatchOS for the Apple Watch. WatchOS 5 brings a number of new features including new watch faces and improved health tracking.
Product Review

The Suunto 9 multisport watch has the stamina to outlast even you

The Suunto 9 offers an astounding 120 hours of continuous tracking thanks to its intelligent battery modes and FusedTrack "GPS without GPS" tracking. We put the Suunto 9 through its paces to find out how well these features work.
Mobile

Google is making it easier for students to run lab tests in virtual reality

Google and Labster announced a partnership to bring more than 30 virtual science labs to Google Daydream, allowing students and others interested in science to spend time in a lab or out in the field.
Photography

Lensless cameras could turn windows into sensors, even pointed the ‘wrong’ way

A research group at the University of Utah is rethinking cameras for machines and not humans. The result? A lensless camera pointed at the edge of a piece of glass, instead of looking through the glass.
Android Army

IFA 2018 Complete Coverage

CES may be the largest consumer electronics show in the U.S., but IFA owns bragging rights as the largest CE show outside the states. In 2018, the show runs Aug. 31 to Sept. 5, and because of its timing (just in time for buyers to place…
Computing

Apple acquires yet another startup as the release of its AR glasses draws near

Apple AR glasses may be closer to reality than we thought. Here is everything we know so far about the augmented reality system, including the rumored specifications of Apple's Project Mirrorshades.
Product Review

Embrace the dark side with Kylo Ren's lightsaber for 'Star Wars: Jedi Challenges'

Want to be a Jedi? Disney and Lenovo have teamed up to create an augmented reality headset that lets you wield a lightsaber. You can deflect blaster shots, play Holochess, fight or be Kylo Ren in ‘Star Wars: Jedi Challenges.’
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best gear and gadgetry you can snag for $100 or less

A $100 bill can get you further than you might think -- so long as you know where to look. Check out our picks for the best tech under $100, whether you're in the market for headphones or a virtual-reality headset.
Emerging Tech

This cockpit-style simulator will make your VR experiences more immersive

Do you want a cockpit-style VR gaming chair that looks like something a Star Trek captain would sit in? If so, this new 3 Degree of Freedom Motion Simulator Kickstarter may be for you.
Product Review

Oculus Touch buoys the Rift, but there's still work to be done

Oculus inspired the new generation of virtual reality headsets with its incredibly successful Kickstarter. Is the original the standard, or have its imitators surpassed it? Let's take a look at how the Rift stacks up.
Web

Firefox Reality wants to bring the ‘whimsical web’ to VR

Mozilla launched a VR-powered web browser today called Firefox Reality. But just what does browsing the web in VR feel like? We went hands-on with this new browser to see how Mozilla imagines the future of virtual reality content.
Computing

Facebook appears set on crafting custom silicon for augmented reality devices

Facebook's latest job postings are seeking engineers and developers for custom augmented reality chipsets, and seem to support speculation that the company is looking to produce AR glasses.