HTC has officially announced the VIVE Focus Plus standalone headset, aimed at the enterprise segment. The new headset is powered by the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset that's found in many 2017 flagship smartphones, and boasts a pair of 6DOF controllers that provide a wider variety of ways to interact with objects in the virtual space. The screen, meanwhile, is an AMOLED panel with 3K resolution. The VIVE Focus will be available from the VIVE store this summer, and each unit comes with a free enterprise certificate.
This latest VIVE headset is aimed squarely at the enterprise market, as evidenced by the inclusion of an enterprise certificate. It's one of the first standalone headsets to include 6DOF controllers, making it ideal for demonstration, training, and simulation purposes. It even has a built-in kiosk mode that restricts operation so that would-be customers aren't tempted to try to get out of the game or app they're previewing, or run off with the unit. The headset is powered by the VIVE WAVE platform, meaning that it has access to most VIVEPort content, and it's easy to port things over if they work with the PC-based VIVE.
The 3K screen and 6DOF controllers position the VIVE Focus as a premium solution that seeks to deliver high-end experiences. According to HTC, one of the reasons for the inclusion of 6DOF controllers is to make it easier for developers to port PC VR software over. While the Snapdragon 835 in the headset uses a different architecture from the x86 processors in most computers, the inclusion of a more detailed control method will mean that developers won't have to compromise on the interface of VR software, for the most part. Unfortunately, the VIVE Focus does not include any kind of roomscale functionality.
HTC released a similar gadget in the Chinese market last year, simply called the VIVE Focus. Like the Focus Plus, it features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. It differs from the Focus Plus in a few ways, key among them being that the Standalone runs Google's Daydream ecosystem, making it essentially a smartphone-based headset.
This announcement comes alongside the VIVE Cosmos, a free-standing VR headset that actually hooks up to a PC and uses premium VR content. Thanks to VIVE Wave and the 6DOF controllers included with the VIVE Focus, the new standalone headset and the new PC-based headset will share a lot of content, though higher-end experiences with more demanding graphics or roomscale operations will almost certainly be exclusive to the PC-based model.
The VIVE Focus Plus, as the name implies, is essentially HTC's China-exclusive VIVE Focus for worldwide territories, with a few extra features. The 6DOF and high-resolution screen are bound to cause a stir in the standalone VR scene, which likely means that a deluge of premium content is going to be headed for the Arm-powered crowd. The VIVE Focus is a bit more expensive than the competing Oculus Quest, but it's supposed to offer a more compelling experience to justify the difference in price. The two run on entirely different ecosystems, despite the similar specs, so it's not really an overstatement to say that the battle between the HTC Vive Focus and the Oculus Quest will help shape the future of the standalone VR space.