Claude Zellweger, Vice President of Design at HTC and HTC Vive has left the company in order to join Google’s division developing the virtual reality (VR) platform Daydream. Zellweger made the announcement yesterday on Twitter while casually replying to one user of the microblogging platform. HTC later confirmed his departure in an email to The Verge.
Zellweger started his journey at HTC in 2008 after the Taiwanese tech giant acquired the design company One & Co which was owned by Zellweger, Scott Croyle, and Jonah Becker. Zellweger then joined the company and was responsible for improving HTC’s high-end smartphone design. In recent years, he led the HTC Vive design team through the headset’s various iterations before a consumer-friendly model was finally manufactured. After that relatively long episode with HTC, Zellweger is now apparently ready to move on and work on a different product from a different brand. For the uninitiated, Daydream is Google's virtual reality platform which is currently driven by the Daydream View headset. However, rumors have it that Google may be working on a standalone virtual reality headset and the tech giant recently began hiring new employees with hardware expertise in order to push the Daydream platform forward and develop new VR and AR products.
It’s unclear what responsibilities Zellweger will have at Google Daydream, but his experience with designing both VR headsets and smartphones should prove useful for the tech giant, especially given the fact that the Google Daydream View headset combines both product categories in a single package. As for HTC and the HTC Vive VR headset, the Taiwanese consumer electronics manufacturer continues to expand the library of VR content with new games and tools, with 23 new titles having already been confirmed at CES 2017. The company is also working on expanding its network of VR arcades, and recent rumors indicate that HTC may also be working on a Vive-branded fitness tracker or a smartwatch which already passed through the FCC earlier this week bearing the model number “2PYV100." In any case, it remains to be seen whether Zellweger’s departure from HTC will be for the best and whether Google Daydream will benefit from his expertise to create better VR and AR products in the future.