Just a few days back, reports indicated that the commercial launch of the HTC Vive headset has been pushed back to April this year. That, however, isn’t dithering the Taiwanese tech company. The latest report out of the island nation regarding the upcoming gadget now says that HTC has confirmed that it will start accepting pre-orders for the device from as early as February 29th. While not much is known about the final retail price-tag of the Vive, it is expected to be significantly more expensive than the Gear VR from Samsung, which is sold for only about $99 in the US. The Oculus Rift, an expected competitor of the HTC Vive, was recently put up for pre-order at $599 in the US and £499 in UK.
The one interesting thing is that while the first-generation Vive is yet to even make it out of the factory commercially, the second-generation developer edition version of the headset, called the Vive Pre, has already been announced by HTC. The device was showed off by the company at the recently-concluded CES trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada, last week, and comes with several design changes as compared to the developer edition of the first-generation Vive that was initially showcased last year at the MWC in Barcelona, Spain. As many as 7,000 units of the Vive Pre will apparently be made available to app developers in the coming months, if reports are to be believed.
The fact that HTC is having a tough time of late in its smartphone business is not exactly a state secret. While on the one hand, the company has been unable to compete with established smartphone manufacturers like Samsung and Apple, on the other, the company hasn’t been able to make capital of the opportunity at the mid-range segment that has been so warmly – and successfully – embraced by its fellow Taiwanese rival, Asus, with its ZenFone range of high spec’d, pocket-friendly smartphones. Now however, it increasingly seems like the company may well be seeing the writing on the wall, as the company’s CEO, Ms. Cher Wang, recently admitted that the top management at HTC was being “more realistic” in its assessment, that the company can only get back into the green if it concentrates more on the nascent virtual reality sector, and less on the significantly more mature smartphone market. According to her, “Yes, smartphones are important, but to create a natural extension to other connected devices like wearables and virtual reality is more important”.