HTC would rather not talk about its smartphone business, but Cher Wang’s company is much more confident when it comes to its budding VR initiatives.
The Vive VR headset, developed together with gaming powerhouse Valve, is still not ready for prime time, but today HTC unveiled a refreshed version of the device called Vive Pre.
The Vive Pre features a lighter and more streamlined design, with a redesigned headstrap and interchangeable face and nose foam gaskets that are supposed to make the bulky headset fit more comfortably on your face.
According to HTC, the display of the Vive has been improved, even if resolution remains unchanged. The clarity and vividness of the images are better thanks to a feature called “mura correction.”
HTC and Valve also refined the handheld controllers and the base stations that allow the system to calculate your position in 3D space. The controllers feature improved buttons and the rechargeable batteries now allow for up to four hours of gameplay.
The marquee feature of this version of the Pre, however, is the “Chaperone mode,” that allows you to see the real world even when you are immersed in virtual reality. This augmented reality function is made possible by the camera that is integrated into the front of the Vive headset. Basically, you can see outlines of objects in your vicinity that are overlaid on your VR field of view. Handy for the times you want to grab a drink or avoid stumbling over the chair. Speaking of that, the new Vive Pre can work without problems in larger rooms.
The Vive Pre is still a developer device. The consumer version of the Vive is slated for April, and HTC confirmed that customers will be able to pre-order it from February. We still don’t know the store price of the Vive, but don’t expect it to compete with Gear VR and other affordable VR solutions.
HTC Reshapes Human Imagination With Inspiring Virtual Reality
LAS VEGAS, Jan. 5, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — HTC, a pioneer in innovative smart technologies, today announced new developments to the Vive VR system that represent the next step in bringing virtual reality to a mass-market. With Vive Pre, HTC is fulfilling the promise of creating fully immersive experiences that change how we communicate, how we are entertained, and how we learn and train. Each and every component has been redesigned from the ground up to provide better comfort, ergonomics, and performance. With milestone improvements in both visuals and versatility, Vive Pre creates a world without limits.
“When we first announced Vive ten months ago we had an ambitious goal of fundamentally changing the way people communicate and interact with the world – forever,” comments Cher Wang, chairwoman and CEO, HTC. “Since then Vive has received a phenomenally positive reception from media, industry commentators, consumers, and the hundreds of partners and brands we’ve been working with to deliver inspiring and dynamic VR content. For too long, the promise of virtual reality has been little more than a promise. Today we stand on the precipice of a new era. Vive is creating a world where the only limit is human imagination.”
Become immersed with the new Vive Headset
The refreshed design of the Vive headset has been refined to offer greater comfort to the wearer, increasing the sense of immersion in the virtual worlds it creates. The headset is now more compact and features an updated strap design that provides greater stability and balance. An improved visual system with brighter displays and image refinements leads to increased clarity, and an even deeper sense of presence. On the inside, interchangeable foam inserts and nose gaskets mean the Vive Pre fits comfortably and securely to the user. Vive Pre can also be easily adjusted to suit a variety of facial shapes while remaining compatible with a variety of eyeglasses.
Integrated front facing camera merges the physical and virtual
Vive Pre brings elements of the real world into the VR realm. A newly developed front facing camera allows you to do more both inside and outside your Virtual world by blending physical elements into the virtual space. Being able to take a seat, find your drink, and carry on conversations without removing your headset is only the beginning of what’s possible.
Completing the VR experience, the Vive’s controllers have been overhauled and enhanced with updated ergonomics and softer edges, greater balance, new textured buttons, and grip pads for a more comfortable feel in the hand. The new dual stage trigger makes interaction with objects smoother, and haptic feedback delivers vital feedback about your interactions with the virtual world. For power, the controllers now feature integrated rechargeable lithium polymer batteries with micro-USB charging that provides over 4 hours of runtime on a single charge.
The Vive base stations have also been redesigned to be more compact, quieter, and provide improved tracking.
The HTC Vive will be the first VR hardware to support SteamVR. Created by Valve, Steam VR tracking and the Chaperone system are optimized for use with Steam, one of the largest online platforms for PC, Linux and Mac games and software.
Shaping the Virtual Reality Industry
Since announcing Vive, HTC and Valve have worked with thousands of developers and partners to create VR content across a wide spectrum of sectors; from gaming and entertainment to health, automotive, retail and education. HTC and over 15 Vive partners will be showcasing VR applications at CES 2016, demonstrating the potential of a world without limits on imagination. Leading automotive manufacturer Audi has created a premium retail experience where consumers can explore their dream car with virtual reality, and Dassault Systemes, the 3DEXPERIENCE company, will showcase how it is developing the future of 3D product design in VR. HTC is also showcasing a new brand for Vive at CES 2016.
While Vive is scheduled for commercial launch in April 2016, HTC and Valve will be starting the new year by making an additional 7,000 units available to developers.
HTC Corporation aims to bring brilliance to life. As a global innovator in smart mobile devices and technology, HTC has produced award-winning products and industry firsts since its inception in 1997, including the critically acclaimed HTC One and HTC Desire lines of smartphones. The pursuit of brilliance is at the heart of everything we do, inspiring best-in-class design and game-changing mobile and virtual reality experiences for consumers around the world. HTC is listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE: 2498).www.htc.com
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