HTC Vive Focus stand-alone VR headset announced alongside Vive Wave development platform

At HTC's Vive Developer Conference, the company finally got to show off its upcoming standalone headset to the Beijing crowd - the Vive Focus.

"In the past, standalones have always kind of represented a mediocre balance, where you don't have much content and you can only do rotational, and it's not that much different than Cardboard except now you have one individual machine", HTC Vive's China President Alvin Wang Graylin told Engadget.

Created to be an all-in-one device, the Focus won't need to be hooked up to a powerful desktop PC in order to run and won't have the same interactivity constraints that mobile VR now has.

While today marked the official unveiling of the Vive Focus, HTC is still mum on availability and pricing. So when developers port their VR content to Vive Wave, they can choose to adopt 3DoF hand input or keep 6DoF by using additional accessories. Unlike some other standalone VR headsets, you don't need your phone. "Vive Wave will assure a higher consistency in the user experience on a variety of mobile VR devices across various price points, making quality VR more accessible to the mass market". 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.

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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.

"As the world continues to become more mobile and connected, we've been working closely with Vive through our HMD Accelerator Program and advanced VR software features to enable immersive virtual reality experiences without the need for wires or PCs", said Hugo Swart, senior director, product management, Qualcomm Technologies Inc. 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. It also packs a high resolution AMOLED display, although HTC has been rather light on the details of what this is about.

Predictably, the Vive Focus headset is fully compatible with the Vive Wave open platform and Viveport content distribution system. HTC is also accepting applications for Vive Wave developer kits through the Chinese Vive developer hub.


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