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HTC Vive interview: The new flagship VR headset makes its debut
We recently had the opportunity to talk with Shen Ye from HTCVive at CES 2023 about the company’s most recent development in VR (virtual reality). We mainly talked about HTC’s latest Vive XR Elite headset, which is a premium product mainly aimed at consumers.
Mr. Shen also shared his views on the enterprise market for VR headsets and a lot more. You can read an overview of the interview below or check out the whole thing in the video above.
Q: Can you give us a few details about your latest VR product — the HTCVive XR Elite headset?
A: The Vive XR Elite is an amalgamation of everything we’ve done in VR so far. It’s a premium flagship consumer headset.
Last year, we had two mobile headsets. One was the Vive Focus 3, which was designed for enterprise and had the best technology we developed in terms of hardware, software, and tracking. And then we also had Vive Flow, our immersive glasses with an ultra-portable design. This year, we took the best of both worlds and introduced the Vive XR Elite, which we think is the perfect form factor for consumers.
The HTCVive XR Elite is lighter than the latest generation of the iPad Pro.
It only weighs 625 grams, making it lighter than the latest generation of the iPad Pro. It’s also very powerful, as we were able to squeeze a lot into this compact frame. It has a 4K display running at 90Hz and four tracking cameras that power our in-house inside-out tracking. There’s a depth sensor at the front, as well as a 16MP RGB camera.
The battery lasts for two hours, and the speakers that are on the sides are so well hidden you won’t even see them. However, they still have good volume, bass, and clarity.
Q: A lot of your competitors are either targeting consumers or enterprises. You mentioned that your product combines the best of both world, so does that means you’re targeting both markets?
A: Our focus is to take all the tech we have to make a really good consumer headset. We’re trying to deliver a premium experience, and we think that this product has the perfect balance of technology and design for consumers.
However, we will enable the product for enterprise use as well, and we’ll announce all the details at Mobile World Congress.
Q: Can I hook up the HTCVive XR Elite to my PC?
A: Yes, you can hook it up to a PC. We will enable a virtual desk experience as well soon, which will give you three virtual screens. You can also stream PCVR content if you’re a fan or stream from an Android device via Miracast.
For example, you could be on a plane and have a Disney Plus or a Netflix show downloaded on your phone and then you can watch it with Vive XR Elite and feel like you’re looking at a 300-inch private cinema screen. If you combined all the screens available in first class, they wouldn’t even come close.
Q: A lot of companies think that the enterprise sector is the one that will adopt VR technology more so than the consumer sector. What’s HTC’s stance on that? Looking at your broader portfolio, would you say you’re more focused on enterprises, consumers, or both?
A: We’re focused on both. We’re targeting a very different consumer group than the one targeted by companies making the cheapest headsets. Those are generally impulse purchases, while our product is for people who want to do the research and need a really good headset. They want the best of the best.
But we also have a good focus on enterprise. The Vive Focus 3 is the de-facto headset. If you ask anyone who runs VR training, they’ll tell you that the Vive Focus 3 is the headset to get.
So we do have a focus on both the consumer and enterprise markets. Our first headset was the HTCVive, which had a big consumer audience, but it enabled the growth for VR for enterprises as well.
Q: What are the controllers for the HTCVice XR Elite like?
A: The controllers are the same ones we use for the Vive Focus 3. The reason for that is because they are intuitive, comfortable, and versatile. They’ve also been tested by enterprises as well. And most importantly, they have excellent tracking capabilities and last around 16 hours.
Another benefit of using the same controllers is that it allows us to minimize our environmental impact since we use the same manufacturing process for both.
Q: Let’s talk about price. How much does the HTCVive XR Elite cost and when will it be available?
A: It comes in at $1,099 and includes two controllers and the battery cradle. It’s already up for pre-order, with shipping starting in February.
The Vive XR Elite is a premium product that includes a lot of innovation, so a lot of the components aren’t off the shelf. The lenses, for example, have dioptre, so you don’t have to wear glasses, while the panels are designed specifically for this headset. There’s a lot of innovation that went into this product, which is why premium headsets still have a high price point.
This is just a quick overview of the conversation we had with HTC’s Shen Yu. If you want to learn more, check out the video at the top of the page.