After a couple of teases earlier this year, HTC has finally unveiled its upcoming standalone VR headset at today's Vive Developer Conference in Beijing. The company did note that the Vive Focus would be the "first commercial standalone device to deliver inside-out 6-degree-of-freedom tracking (6DoF)".
HTC is striving to prevent this scenario by offering a unified solution that supports a wide range of hardware. "Now you can essentially do most of the things that you could do on a high-end machine on a standalone". As previously announced, the Vive Focus runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip and uses inside-out positional tracking. "The combination of Snapdragon's ultra-low power, high performance VR coupled with the new Vive Wave VR open platform will help content developers deliver best-in-class mobile VR experiences to users".
The VR headset is also optimized by Vive Wave VR open platform where developers can add VR-ready content. HTC said that 12 hardware partners have already signed up to take part in Vive Wave. The platform uses the OpenVR API to enable developers to easily port existing VR apps to the Wave platform.
Beyond the Vive headset, Google had announced that they were also working with Lenovo on a wireless Daydream headset.
Unfortunately, HTC is still keeping details under wraps for now, and so specifics aren't yet clear. Choice is great, of course, but when each device has its own content platform, it's hard for developers to support all systems, paving the way for one platform to dominate. While Oculus executives have outright noted that they are not particularly interested in making money off of hardware sales, there aren't many other options for HTC which has done a poor job of becoming a platform company in the United States despite being first-to-market. According to Graylin, this can be applied to a classroom where the teacher is doing a demonstration, while the students are all equipped with a Focus each and can see each other in the same virtual space.
HTC has only announced plans for the Vive Focus in China just yet, and even then there aren't any details on pricing or a release date. The focus appears to be exclusively on China with this release as well.