HTC announced a stand-alone VR (virtual reality) headset and new VR development platform at the Vive Developer Conference in China. Choice is great, of course, but when each device has its own content platform, it's hard for developers to support all systems, paving the way for one platform to dominate.
It's unclear, but unlikely that this will play fully blown Vive VR games such as L.A. Noire and the like, but it'll be interesting to see where this kind of tech goes in the near future. The Vive Focus eschews the need for base stations, backpack mounted PCs, and smartphones. That said, it can also be used with a separate controller for additional functionality. According to Graylin, China's standalone VR market's revenue share grew from 5 percent to a whopping 24 percent in Q3 alone, while mobile VR still has 50 percent revenue share in the same region, so he believes that both markets will appeal to developers across the world. It doesn't appear HTC has mentioned any pricing at this time, though the company does say that more than 100 developers are now working on content for Focus. "The combination of Snapdragon's ultra-low power, high performance VR coupled with the new Vive Wave VR open platform will help content developers deliver best-in-class mobile VR experiences to users".
There's no word on the release or pricing of the HTC Vive Focus just yet.
Going back to the Focus, one potential use case that intrigued me the most is that it can be hooked up to other HTC headsets - be it the Focus or even the original Vive - for social interaction. It also packs a high resolution AMOLED display, although HTC has been rather light on the details of what this is about. The representative that we spoke with declined to discuss the full specifications of the hardware and would not say how much the Vive Focus would cost or when it would be available. Per the device's website, the headset supports something called WorldSense which support six degrees of freedom, allowing for natural movements like ducking, leaning, and peeking. HTC is also accepting applications for Vive Wave developer kits through the Chinese Vive developer hub.