This week at the annual VIVE Ecosystem Conference in Shenzhen HTC unveiled more details surrounding pricing and availability of the VIVE Focus Plus stand-alone VR headset. Originally introduced in February, the new HMD will become available for purchase on April 15 via the VIVE official website for the price of $799.
HTC continuing to bet on enterprise VR
The first-generation HTC VIVE headset released in 2016 was targeting the consumer market first and foremost, but the segment didn't seem to have grown as fast as the OEM may have anticipated and now HTC seemingly has a greater focus on enterprise.
HTC's latest VR HMD aims primarily at the enterprise segment and, essentially, this means that the OEM intends to market the device to businesses that may want to carry conferences in a virtual environment, as well as educational and research institutions who can leverage on VR technologies to improve their results. The OEM itself could also use the same headset for its own partnerships, similar to how its VR platform is used in collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History to enrich the ongoing Ultimate Predator exhibition.
The HTC VIVE Focus Plus will ship alongside an enterprise license at no additional cost, at least in "most markets" according to the OEM. The headset will launch in 25 markets around the world and will support 19 languages, but HTC did not mention which.
Multi-mode means wider device compatibility
The new solution supports the VIVE WAVE platform offering access to standalone VR content and allowing developers to port VR applications from the PC platform with relative ease, according to the OEM.
But this time there seems to be a greater focus on the benefits of the HMD's multi-mode capability, which effectively expands the headset's library and use cases with non-standalone content through compatibility with a wide range of devices and services.
This includes smartphones, game consoles, PCs, 2D video streaming devices, live 360 streaming cameras, as well as upcoming Cloud VR services. Streaming and Cloud services could also benefit VR technologies through the emerging 5G era and the OEM has prepared for this by developing the HTC 5G Hub, which should allow VR users to connect their headsets directly and share content in the future, similarly to how they can achieve this via EVO Wi-Fi.
Other HTC VIVE Focus Plus highlights and specifications
On the hardware side, the HTC VIVE Focus Plus offers a couple of new and improved features, such as the addition of dual 6DOF controllers allowing for better immersion and control over the VR environment. The new HMD is also equipped with new Fresnel lenses which should contribute to a crisper image while reducing the so-called "screen door effect." This is a visual byproduct of the screen being magnified whereby the pixel grid becomes visible to the user.
The HTC VIVE Focus Plus uses AMOLED display technology and has a pixel count of 2,880 by 1,600 as well as a 75Hz refresh rate. It's equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of built-in memory, and relies on a 4,000mAh battery that takes advantage of Quick Charge 3.0 via a USB Type-C connector. The unit can connect via Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac.
The new HMD is available for pre-order in China starting today for the price of 5,699 Yuan ($848) but should launch for $799 in other markets.