VR: Will Other Platforms Follow HTC's Vive Focus System Phone Integration?

The Daydream platform, Samsung's Gear VR, the Oculus Go and Oculus Rift, PSVR, and HTC's Vive Focus system all have their own benefits, and while all those other platforms are more widely available then the Vive Focus right now, HTC just put out a system 2.0 update for the Vive Focus that allows it to connect to an HTC smartphone, leading to integrated features that let's users access phone calls, messages, and social notifications right in the headset without having to take it off. This serves as more than a cool trick, and actually allows users to stay connected to the real world while they're escaping into an imaginary one, being immersed in whatever content they choose to dive into and still receive notifications. What's more is that notifications don't just show up in the VR interface but users can interact with them here too. Based on HTC's details this is also available for the company's PC-based Vive headsets as well, so whether they're jumping into VR at home or on the go they can still stay connected.

The kicker, is that this only works with HTC phones so even though the Vive Focus nor the Vive or Vive Pro require a smartphone to power the hardware, there's a limitation on the phones that can use these new features. With Daydream the possibilities are a little more far-reaching in terms of who would be able to use them should Google ever decide to implement something similar as there are quite a few phones now that support Daydream headsets. Now, the reason this works with the Vive Focus and the PC-based Vive headsets might be due to the lack of needing the phone to power those headsets, while headsets like the Daydream View need the phone to be slotted into it. If the phone being the power source is blocking the headset from relaying the notifications to the user inside of the Daydream interface, then the Gear VR might not be able to feature this sort of thing either.

That still leaves the Oculus Go and the Lenovo Mirage Solo however, as both of those headsets are standalone like the Vive Focus. HTC hasn't shared any details about how this phone integration actually works, but both Oculus and Lenovo/Google could benefit from adding a similar feature to their own headsets. What benefits the user would benefit the companies those users are buying hardware from because the headsets would offer more value by way of offering more capabilities. Sony's PlayStation VR could offer a similar feature as well, though whether or not it or any of the other companies will integrate phone notifications is unclear and may not be very likely, despite how useful it could be for anyone who owns the hardware. Still, with HTC introducing these capabilities this week perhaps other brands will follow in its footsteps and bring similar functionality, as staying connected to the outside world from within the VR interface would keep people using the product since there would be no need to take the headset off to interact with certain phone features.

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About the Author

Justin Diaz

Head Editor
Lover of food, craft beer, movies, travel, and all things tech. Video games have always been a passion of his due to their ability to tell incredible stories, and home automation tech is the next big interest, in large part because of the Philips Hue integration with Razer Chroma. Current Device: Google Pixel.
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