HTC launches Vive Focus for China, drops plans for Daydream headset

HTC didn't reveal the availability and pricing details of the Vive Focus VR headset as of yet. This preempted the release of a standalone Daydream VR headset, forcing HTC to cut its losses and focus on the market where it has an advantage. "We still have a great relationship with Google, but will not be bringing a standalone device to the western markets on Daydream", an HTC spokesperson told TechCrunch.

So why is HTC ditching the US?

Another feature of the Focus is that it can be hooked up to other HTC headsets-Vive or Focus-for social interaction, allowing groups of people to have virtual meetings, watch movies together, participate in classroom exercises, and enjoy multiplayer games.

The Vive Focus is the first virtual reality headset to offer six degrees of movement - left/right, up/down and forwards/backwards - while also doing away with the need to be tethered to a computer. Beyond that, HTC did not get into many specifics, such as the actual resolution of the display or battery life.

HTC first teased a standalone VR headset earlier this year, and at the Vive Developers Conference in Beijing, the device was finally unveiled. However, the company made it clear that there will not be any Daydream version of the VR headset.

"This really can be seen as a new step to maturity of the VR market".

The appeal of the Vive Focus goes beyond its standalone capabilities though. Smartphones that use AMOLED screens include Google's Pixel 2 and the Samsung S8, both of which can be used for screens in mobile VR headsets. It comes with a 3DoF controller.

The Vive Wave VR has been described as "Daydream for China", in reference to Google's VR platform Daydream. It is an open interface that is created to allow interoperability between numerous mobile headsets and accessories. Alvin Wang Graylin, HTC Vive's China President has said HTC is only focusing on China for now with the Vive Focus headset. HTC describes this as "world scale" as opposed to the HTC Vive's "room scale" setup. In China, HTC has secured 12 hardware partners to build Vive Wave compatible devices.

"Without the need to be attached to a PC or a phone, Vive Focus provides unlimited freedom of mobility while reducing the total cost for users to own a premium VR device".

HTC also confirmed that content designed for the HTC Vive will be downgraded to work smoothly with 20ms low latency on the HTC Vive Focus, but noted that this would be an nearly automatic process using the OpenVR-compatible SDK to optimize the content for medium-level hardware.

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