Image: HTC Vive
- Name and price information added
Update January 1, 2023:
Lynch is posting more images on Twitter of the new Vive headset, which he says will be called the “Vive XR Elite”. Lynch claims the price will be $1400. The battery on the back of the VR headset is supposed to be a power bank connected to the front part of the headset via USB. This way the battery could be changed in between and the headphones could be used without charging breaks.
The official unveiling will take place on January 5 at CES 2023 (see the article below for more information).
Original article December 16, 2022:
At CES 2023 in January, HTC will show off a slim VR AR headset that’s supposed to compete with the Meta Quest (Pro). Now we have the first official photo.
HTC showed the first teaser of a new VR headset for consumers in October. The company has hinted that the next device could be a mix of the thin Vive Flow headset, which requires an external drive, and the higher quality standalone Vive Focus 3. Vive Flow is a flop, the Focus 3 is only sold to businesses and arcades.
HTC plans to return to the consumer market
HTC wants to make a comeback in the mainstream XR market with the new headphones. According to HTC’s global product manager, Shen Ye, the as-yet-unnamed device will be slim, have all the hardware built-in, and offer full-fledged augmented reality capabilities in addition to virtual reality. The new Vive headset will be one of the lightest XR glasses on the market, Ye said.
The first official image shows a design similar to the Vive Flow, with side and front tracking cameras and a depth sensor. Like the Quest Pro, the headset will offer color video passthrough for mixed reality apps, which would set it apart from the Quest 2 and Pico 4. The video view is said to be good enough for reading text on the monitor or smartphone.
The device comes with the same VR controllers as the Focus 3 and also supports optical hand tracking. The standalone headset’s battery is supposed to last about two hours.
Due to the depth sensor, the new Vive headset could in theory enable higher quality AR apps than Quest Pro, as it can capture the environment faster and more accurately than Quest Pro with pure camera tracking. Ultimately, however, the quality of the software plays a decisive role here, and developers must first find meaningful application scenarios for video passthrough.
HTC wants to stand out from Meta with better privacy protection. VR headsets are currently “heavily subsidized by companies that try to suck up and take personal data to provide to advertisers,” Ye told The Verge. “We don’t think the way we want to approach it is to compromise on privacy.”
New Vive headset will be more expensive than Quest 2 and Pico 4
So much hardware comes at a price: According to a November leak from Brad Lynch, the new Vive headset will cost over $1,000 and, more like Quest Pro, will be aimed at “prosumers”. Modules for face and eye tracking will follow later. The processor is the Snapdragon XR2 Gen 1, which is also used in Quest Pro.
The optical system includes flat pancake lenses and two LC displays with a resolution of 1920 x 1920 pixels at 120 hertz. The lenses are said to help adjust visual acuity, which would be beneficial for people with eye disorders. HTC also provides a modular design for different application scenarios.