It looks like HTC’s Vive Focus headset will be with us in a matter of weeks.
The company’s first standalone device, which uses inside-out tracking, has been available in China for some time now, but a wider launch in the west was only confirmed earlier this year. I recently asked VP of Worldwide Product Development Joel Breton if the kit was still on track for a 2018 launch.
“Yes that’s still our plan is to get it out worldwide by the end of this year,” Breton said. “And I hope in plenty of time for the holidays.”
Obviously the clock is ticking; there are just 9 weeks left in 2018 and even fewer for the Christmas rush.
The Focus is a curious device for HTC and will be the first to feature the company’s very own VR ecosystem, Vive Wave. We’ve also got plenty of questions about the rollout of the newly-announced six degree of freedom controllers (revealed after our conversation with Breton), which bring the Focus up to a similar level at the recently-revealed Oculus Quest headset but obviously haven’t shipped with Focus itself in China.
“There’s three things we’re working on,” Breton said on the company’s wider work in VR. “Price? We’ve gotta get that down. Power? We’ve gotta get that up. Convenience? Gotta get that up. And then content is the fourth leg of the stool. So the Focus is moving in the right direction on all of those.”
As with other headsets, Focus combats price and convenience by removing the need for expensive and complicated PCs and smartphones, whilst Breton believes the Snapdragon 835 powering the Focus is a good starting point for standalone VR (though admits he’d like to see this area go further sooner).
“But this class of products, the all-in-one, I think is going to be super, super important for mass adoption,” Breton concluded, “and so we’re very happy that we’ve got this version of the Focus out in China currently but also very widely for developers and partners.”