HTC today announced its planning to release a new version of Vive Focus targeted at enterprise users, this time including integrated hardware support for two ultrasonically-tracked 6DOF controllers. Enter Vive Focus Plus, a truly standalone 6DOF VR headset.

Update (12:35 PM ET): A previous version of this article stated that it appeared the Vive Focus Plus has the same Fresnel lenses as the Vive Focus. HTC reached out to us, telling us the lenses in Vive Focus Plus are indeed new, and result in “visibly better graphics.”

We’ve also obtained a copy of the specs list, which has been included at the bottom of the article.

Furthermore, HTC says that more information around pricing and launch date will come at the Vive Ecosystem Conference (VEC) in late March. We’ve included all of this in the body of the article.

The company’s original Vive Focus first launched to consumers in China early last year with a single 3DOF controller (rotation only). While the $600 standalone headset has since made its way westward, shifting away from consumers and emphasizing its use in the enterprise market, the controller remained a sticking point for users and developers who found its 6DOF optical head tracking and 3DOF controller tracking to be pretty strange bedfellows.

Unsurprisingly, Vive Focus Plus essentially incorporates the same technology found in the company’s Vive Focus 6DOF controller dev kit, which shipped out to developers a few months ago as a snap-on faceplate and two ultrasonically tracked controllers created by Chirp Microsystem’s (now owned by TDK).

Image courtesy HTC

Now that the tech is totally integrated, the only apparent differences from the original and Vive Focus Plus are the black and white color scheme and a few barely visible dimples embedded on the front a sides of the unit (seen below) where ultrasonic sounds are emitted and received by its controllers.

This presumably allows for the same ~180-degree controller tracking volume as the dev kit, although besides the addition of 6DOF controllers apparently not much else has changed about the headset itself from a hardware standpoint.

Image courtesy HTC

Like the original Vive Focus it has the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, and the same single AMOLED display at 2,880 × 1,600 (1,660 × 1,600 per lens) resolution; it appears to have the same Fresnel lenses too(see update). HTC says however that the headset’s ergonomics have been refreshed to be more comfortable, and ‘rest easier’ on users’ heads and that the lenses are new too, resulting in a “visibly better graphics.”

Vive Focus Plus is slated to launch in Q2 2019 via the company’s website in 25 markets worldwide, supporting 19 languages. In most markets, the company says, Vive Focus Plus will include an enterprise license for use at no additional cost.

HTC hasn’t released pricing info yet, although the company says more information around pricing and launch date will come at the Vive Ecosystem Conference (VEC) in late March.

Image courtesy HTC

With the enterprise market in sight, Vive Focus Plus is said to ship with full enterprise support, as well as professional features including Kiosk Mode, Gaze Support, and device management tools to remotely enroll, monitor, and manage multiple headsets all at once. The company also highlights a few enterprise use cases already in the works including a full 6DOF medical training app by SimforHealth, and an occupational heath & safety app by Immersive Factory.

Just like the original Vive Focus though we suspect there won’t be any real barriers for stalwart ‘prosumers’ to plonk down the cash and get one too. To that end, HTC Vive Americas general manager Daniel O’Brien says Vive Focus Plus “furthers [their] commitment to rapidly iterate and refine the VR market for both businesses and consumers.”

Hands-on: Vive Focus 6DOF Controllers 'Chirp' & 'FinchShift' Tested Back-to-Back

Enterprise emphasis notwithstanding, Vive Focus Plus is powered by the company’s open source API, Vive Wave, and sources content from their digital distribution platform Viveport, making a more consumer-facing release not entirely out of the realm of possibility in the future—provided it gains a list of compatible games developed specifically for 6DOF controllers and has an attractive price tag to match the upcoming $400 Oculus Quest.

Moreover, HTC says that with Vive Wave and its SDK tools in hand that porting from PC-based VR apps to Vive Focus Plus “will be relatively easy for developers.”

HTC will be showcasing Vive Focus Plus alongside the new Vive Pro Eye at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, next week. We’ll have feet on the ground there, so make sure to check back soon for more info.

Vive Focus Plus Specs

  • Display: 3K AMOLED (2880×1600)
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 835
  • Audio: Built-in Speaker
  • Tracking: Inside-out 6DoF
  • Frame Rate: 75Hz
  • Field of View: 110-degrees
  • Battery: 4000 mAh (up to 2.5 hours* of active use time)
  • Controller: 6DoF
  • Data Connectivity: Wi-Fi® 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (support 5G Hz only)
  • Memory: 4/32 GB
  • Connector: USB Type-C
  • Charging: QC3.0
  • Encryption: File-based (same security level as Android smartphone)
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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • superdonkey

    HTC dont seem to have the ability to create a good looking product

    • jj

      people wouldn’t care if the price was right

    • FireAndTheVoid

      The current generation of headsets may need to be bulky in order to fit all of the hardware, but they didn’t have to go out of their way to make it that ugly

      • Andrew Jakobs

        but then again, it’s comfort that counts, so if this design is much more comfortable then the vive, rfit or PSVR then it really doesn’t matter how it looks from the outside, you’re inside it. But I have one gripe with it, if only it came in black, than it would at least look much cooler. ;)

    • jj

      I guess im alone in thinking you don’t have to look cool while wearing a hmd. I could care less about what people think about me when wearing the headset, and if what is going on inside is legit then i’m good to go.

      Honestly I must be a fan of oddities, because the more unique it looks the more i like it.

      Serious question: Why do you guys care so much about how it looks on your head? Do you really consider what you look like in it enough that it could pursued you to not purchase it?

      • Bryan Ischo

        I do not care what a headset looks like while I am wearing it, however, when a company cannot design a good looking headset it does give the impression that their design skills are poor which tends to erode confidence in the quality of the rest of the product.

        I own an HTC Vive and an HTC Vive Pro and I don’t intend to ever buy another HTC product.

        • jj

          yeah i dont plan on it either but not cause of the look

      • Firestorm185

        I focus more on comfort than on looks, but being an Oculus Owner, which is the visibly prettier looking HMD of the two brands, I guess I do prefer them to look a little nicer if possible. Comfort is first and foremost though, and if it has to look a little bulky or ugly to achieve comfort (comfort on my face I mean, not in VR) than I’m ok with that.

      • Hivemind9000

        Specs, then comfort, then looks. But really I don’t care much about the looks. That said this is definitely the most dorky looking headset I’ve seen. :-)

      • impurekind

        For me this is not about how I look with the product; it’s about how good the product looks in its own right. I simply don’t like bad/fugly product design, period.

      • Lucidfeuer

        It’s not about “looks”, it’s about design. Design is at the cross-section between “art” (not really, I’ll explain) and “ergonomics” (a concept more complicated than popularly thought).

        I’m sure you understand the basics of ergonomic, as if I gave you a chair with 3 legs that is unstable and an uncomfortable back, you’d know it’s crap. Then it’s not just about the external components, but how the internal components, materials or mechanics are actually built in and outside, and most importantly how the different pieces work together to provide a number of factors like solidity, resistance, heat dissipation etc…one of these factors being ergonomics: how the whole ensemble actually fits the actual usage and interaction with the user.

        Well, for many reasons ergonomics extends way beyond the contact/feel and interactions with the user into actual cognitive aspects: like the way it fits into one’s environment, the way it complements your perceived reality or lifestyle, the way your complex mind can appreciate small details that could turn out to be either alienating, easing, disturbing, pleasing etc…which is that close from touching on subjects like aesthetics, meaning, experience etc…which is the “artistic” end of design.

        Those are why design is pretty damn important and goes way beyond “looks”.

  • Sponge Bob

    Has someone ever tested Oculus Quest camera-based controllers vs ultrasonic controllers for robustness in adverse conditions like outdoors ?
    Its seems that ultrasonic has an advantage over optical as it works in e.g. direct sunlight
    Might be a deciding factor for AR glasses like Magic Leap
    The current Magic Leap edition has magnetic controllers which are not too good and probably never will be… (remembering Sixense story)
    Otherwise why bother with ultrasonic or cameras in the first place ?

    • mellott124

      Ultrasound has issues due to bouncing around. Nintendo Power Glove used Ultrasonic tracking. So did some old Logitech ultrasonic tracking system that had triangular transmitters and receivers for VR.

      Ultrasound based tracking has been around a long time and vendors go around and around between the different technologies as each one improves. No single tracking technology is the best in every case.

      • Sponge Bob

        True, but I was talking specifically about AR glasses outdoors

        Which tech it’s gonna be ?

        magnetic ? No – too big and power hungry

        optical – No – direct sunlight kills it (unless you can use lasers which is not practical at all and can even be dangerous with increased power)

        which one is left ?

        I don’t know of any other means of positional tracking – just 3:


        Do you ?

        • brandon9271

          Who said magnetic is big and power hungry? Sixense stuff was magnetic and I don’t remember it being big. Also, I’ve seen people use WMR camera based tracking outdoors so I’m not so sure that sunlight is an issue with that if that’s what you meant by optical.

          • Sponge Bob

            sixense is huge (but to be honest they tried to do roomscale or something close to it but failed)
            magic leap’s controller is big too and not reliable
            it’s just the laws of physics – the size of the coils and the magnitude of the electric current – both can’t be too small

            IR camera-based optical tracking does not work outside in direct sunlight
            Lighthouse might work under certain conditions because of the laser

          • mirak

            Magnetic tracking is outside in.
            It works like the lighthouses, it’s passive.
            So you can’t use that outside to walk around.

          • Sponge Bob

            we are talking controllers tracked to headset

          • mirak

            Ok then razer hydra works from 5v usb ports.
            An external battery pack like the one needed for the wireless adapters for vive and rift would make power a non issue anyway.
            I don’t know about a headset integrated batteryit would be interesting to know how much power hydra base station draws though. I don’t know if you can monitor that through the motherboard.

            The range would be enough at arms length from the head.
            I don’t know of it’s safe to have the hydra base station right on the head though.

            But what doesn’t makes sense anyway is that if sunlight is an issue for controllers it will be an issue for the headset positioning.

          • Sponge Bob

            We are talking hand-held controllers here
            Razer Hydra is a wired controller
            I don’t think there will be much consumer demand for wired hand-held controllers
            Has TO BE WIRELESS
            AND run on one battery charge for a whole day

            Sunlight is an issue for any optical tracking but less of an issue for inside-out headset tracking vs small controller tracking I presume
            It is safe to pout Hydra basestation on your head but it wil lbe the biggest and ugliest VR headset ever – Hydra basestation includes big sphere with coils which can’t be reduced in size

          • mirak

            What are you talking about the wire of the hydra ???
            The lighthouse wands were wired in the beginning, then they would not be.
            Sixsense had shown wireless prototypes even before releasing the Hydra.

            Unless you think the wireless radio light affect the wireless position that’s not an issue.
            And if it’s an issue then why bother even talking of electromagnetism tracking ?

          • Sponge Bob

            the issue with magnetic tracking is power consumption
            (and size of the coils too)

            and how do you know what battery sixense used for their wireless prototype “demo”
            and why they failed to deliver the tech ?
            prototype is not the same as consumer product
            you can show a 5 min demo just fine but then battery runs out
            demo is just fine – consumer product is not and may never be

          • mirak

            You want to put the coils inside the controllers ???
            Hydra doesn’t work that way, the field is made by the base, and the sensors are in the controllers and I doubt this sensors are what takes the energy.

            But inverting the system could be interesting though, if that would mean having less power drown from the headset, and magnetic fields more away of the head, and less battery weight on the head.
            Controllers can take more batteries weight I think, and also they would last longer than 2 or 3 hours autonomy for the quest anyway.

          • Sponge Bob

            as far as I remember Hydra controllers have individual coils too – for magnetic fileld detection – and amplifiers for each of them – so takes power
            Interestingly Magic Leap designers reversed it and put magnetic field source inside hand held controllers
            Not sure why
            Still the power consumption and coils size problem persist – unlike ultrasonic which can be made really tiny and consume microwatts of power which means they can be always on

            I say if magnetic tracking tech could really work it would already replace optical and whatever else they use for hand held controlelrs at the very least
            for very obvious reason – no line of sight requirement

          • mirak

            The hydra was released like one year after portal 2 came out.
            Valve worked to a special version of portal for it.
            The wireless prototype was seen at this time, and I guess razer didn’t wanted to wait, and it was not really needed anyway, because you still needed to face a screen.

          • mirak

            I don’t see why sunlight would be less an issue for headset tracking.
            Of course if you use only IR led dots on the controllers it will be an issue probably.
            But if you put a shape like the Vive Cosmos is doing it should be similar.

          • Sponge Bob

            controller is small that’s why

          • mirak

            For a camera, the controller is the same size as your foot.
            When you are standing.

            I guess the algorithm for inside out will try to find big forms first.
            But it still needs a precision that’s way smaller than the size of a controller to detect the forms.
            So I don’t think controller size is an issue.

        • mirak

          There is no inside out tracking possible with magnetic.

          • Sponge Bob

            electromagnetic waves including visible light are utterly useless underwater ..
            unlike acoustic waves which are the only way to communicate at long distances underwater
            we are not talking radars here either – just DC or AC magnetic field only which attenuates very quickly with distance so it’s practically useless for headset tracking but can be somewhat useful for controller tracking (relative to headset)
            Physics 101

          • mirak

            Ok didn’t think about how a submarine can communicate, but I see that’s a topic by itself on Wikipedia xD

            So yes hydra like would be practical, in theory, because practically you would have lighthouse like precision only in a radius of 30 centimeters from the base.
            If you went further away then you had to increase the jitter correction, wich meant more latency.
            But maybe the hydra controllers didn’t have an accelerometer and gyroscope.
            Hopefully they didn’t because if they did, then it means the magnetic tracking was damn bad.

          • Sponge Bob

            Razer Hydra is wired and for a good reason
            If you go further away from the basestation you either need to increase coil sizes (already big) or increase electric current (power consumption) or both
            magnetic tracking can be precise (in absence of large steel objects etc) but is ultimately limited to shorter distances – unlike Lighhouse (well Lighhosue basestaion is wired too to no less than 12V for the same reason … although Nolo basestations are not but they have shorter range too)

      • Sponge Bob

        All of the tracking technologies: optical, ultrasonic or magnetic (except maybe Lighthouse but I have doubts about its originality too) have been around a long times – decades
        They do improve over time but there are natural physical limitations to each of them so you can try to predict which tech will ultimately win for certain applications
        For AR glasses outdoors I would bet on ultrasonic

    • mirak

      Will your dog like ultrasonic ?

      • Sponge Bob

        I don’t have a dog so don’t care
        But dog’s hearing is limited to freqs under 50kHz vs human under 20 KhZ
        Just increase the frequency so dogs can’t hear it

  • HomeAudio

    HTC devices look really BAD. They have to do something with it, otherwise no one will buy their products.

    • jj

      people can deal with the look, its the price thats the issue.

      • Shawn

        It’s not an issue for enterprise / commercial, which is what the Focus and Focus Plus are targeted at. It’s not a consumer product (in Western markets).

  • Gerald Terveen

    ” 2,880 × 1,600 (1,660 × 1,600 per lens)”

    • Hivemind9000

      Yeah I’m still trying to do the math on that one

    • brandon9271

      Well.. the “4” key is SORT OF close to the “6” key… maybe? lol

  • 144Hz

    Why even bother with this with the Vive Cosmos releasing soon?

  • mellott124

    …and I still can’t buy SteamVR 2.0 base stations for that Vive Pro…

    • FireAndTheVoid

      I suspect that HTC is ditching lighthouse tracking for their second gen HMDs and going exclusively with inside-out tracking. That’s just a guess based on where Vive Cosmos, Windwos MR, Oculus Quest, and possibly even the Oculus Rift S are heading. If that is the case, then they probably want to avoid a scenario where they have a large inventory of SteamVR 2.0 base stations that only the Vive Pro can make use of.

      • Sponge Bob

        Not so fast
        inside-out is no match for laser precision and reach
        Not even mentioning controllers
        for stationary home-based VR installation Lighthouse is unmatched

        • FireAndTheVoid

          I have a Vive, Vive Pro, Pimax, and Samsung Odyssey. SteamVR tracking is superior for the controllers, but the inside-out headset tracking on the Odyssey is top-notch. Whatever difference in tracking accuracy there is between SteamVR and Windows MR is imperceptible when it comes to headset tracking. For ease of use, Windows MR tracking wins hands-down. Not having to worry about mounting lighthouses to my walls is a HUGE plus. Not only does it mean I don’t have to drill into my walls, but I also can relocate to a different room in my house easily or take my headset with me to a friend’s house. Then there is the cost factor. At a retail cost of over $100 per lighthouse, it puts any SteamVR headset at a real disadvantage when trying to attract potential buyers who are price-concious. Finally, lighthouses have moving parts which introduce a reliability issue and a customer service headache for HTC.

          So, although SteamVR tracking is superior in terms of tracking, HTC could still choose to abandon it in favor of a lower cost, more reliable, and easier to use solution.

          • mirak

            You don’t need to drill, you buy Joby action clamps.
            Lighthouse optimal setup is how it’s described in the manual, but it’s flexible enough that you can even have them on the ground.

            I have them on the top of a shelf and on a curtain bar.

      • mirak

        I think it’s more than they want to cover all the customers.

        People want mobile, or inside out, or outside in.
        If you want full liberty you go with mobile.
        If you want quality but easy installation you go for wmr tracking style.
        If you want the best for gaming you go for lighthouse.

        I personally don’t think that Lighthouse is complicated though, but some people don’t like the idea of having the light house permanently visible in the living room.
        So they use tripods, but since it’s cumbersome to setup each time, they don’t use vr much.
        So this people would prefer wmr headsets.

    • mirak

      That’s Valve fault here.

      Basically that’s all Valve’s fault.
      It’s their technology, their research.

      They are just so greedy they don’t want to take any risk building hardware.

      I mean they could have easily bought Oculus if they wanted.

      But no, they waited the Kickstarter, then they helped them on the hardware, then at some point Oculus got investors who I guess were attracted by the idea of Oculus Store, and then Valve started to shit their pants, and started to work with HTC, because it was too late and no investors would sell the potential of Oculus to them, then Facebook came around and bought it all.

  • sfmike

    That enterprise market sure must be huge as there are so many companies thinking it’s going to make them rich instead to the consumer base. Think again as there are only so many high priced headsets you can sell.

    • mirak

      A consumer buy the product and is used to have customer support included in the price of the product.
      An entreprise buys a product and is used to have to pay in plus for the support.

      Enterprise products are also potentially free advertising to customers of the product is exposed to them, and to employees.

    • Lucidfeuer

      Consumer products are made to be…consumed and used, the problem being most VR headsets still being close to useless or terrible for regular usage, most people don’t.

      Entreprise products are made to be sometimes used…or not at all and just serve to wash the “innovation” taxes money out of their accounts…that’s why.

  • Tesla

    HTC is not making the future. Boring company like Facebook keeping ZERO progress. These VR headsets after so many years of almost the same specs, should have 2000×2000 per eye at least now and way higher fov made from flexible display (presented years ago). I am waiting for Samsung Curved VR headset to eat them all one moment, the moment of release of curved display. They (Facebook, HTC) did not want to innovate, so the innovation will come to them soon.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      And yet, Samsung still hasn’t released any information on the curved VR headset, other than having files for a patent. meanwhile the rest is putting out actual headsets, even though they are small increments, but with the current GPU’s it’s still good enough, only a small percentage of the people buy a 2080ti which would be needed as a minimum to fully drive a 4k per eye headset.
      And you have no idea what facebook has actually in their labs, what they have shown publicly is already pretty impressive (I mean their special prototypes, not the quest)

      • Hivemind9000

        “2080ti which would be needed as a minimum to fully drive a 4k per eye headset” … unless they support eye tracking and foveated rendering. I think these manufacturers are going to have to make that leap at the same time if they want to sell higher res headsets to the mass market.

      • brandon9271

        I personally think it would be pointless to up the resolution much farther on HMDs. All it would do is increase the price and offer little advantage if 95% of consumers don’t have hardware to push that many pixels. Sure, there’d be a reduction in SDE but if I have to run at 0.5x pixel density it’s kind of a waste. I’d like to see optics improved first. I won’t buy another HMD with god rays.

        • mirak

          It’s true that the main issue is SDE, not resolution.
          When we played on Atari in 320×200 on 15″ screen there was no SDE issue.
          The main thing that prevented photorealism was in fact the limitation to 16 colors.
          They managed to hack it to display 512 colours though, but only for static images.

          Maybe it was a mistake to try to start VR without having fixed the SDE issue first.
          It’s ok to be fans but doubters use that as an argument, and spread bad rep on vr.

      • mirak

        Prototypes don’t matter if the target product is aborted, and guys like Brendan Iribe departs because of it.

    • Hivemind9000

      I’m not sure how curved would make such a big difference. It would only change the way the lenses would have to work. Perhaps it would make the design/fabrication process easier? Maybe less distortion and/or more clarity at the edges? Does anyone know?

      • dk

        yep curved screen is completely irrelevant on it’s own …all it will do as far as I know is shrink the size of the headset just a bit ….and I’m not sure if it will require pancake lenses and those can enable a bit larger fov …not the curved screen

    • dk

      2160×2160 per eye is coming this year ….but unless i has eye tracking like the vive pro eye u can basically run it just on a 2080ti or something like that
      ….and in the past 3 years there have been res updates …maybe not of the thing u subscribe to or not at the price u would like

  • Andrew Jakobs

    The battery could have been a bit heftier, 2.5 hours is not really much, especially in businesses.
    Looking forward to some reviews on the lenses.

  • Only thing I care for is next gen VR.

  • brandon9271

    With the Oculus Quest coming with similar specs and at $400 how is this enterprise “solution” not DOA?

    • mirak

      No competition on China market ?

  • Ted Joseph

    Looks good, but I think Oculus beat them this time with the Quest. The 4 cameras, touch controllers, massive room scale, and a great price is going to place it further ahead than the focus with respects to overall value. I am getting Quest day 1.

    • mirak

      The Focus is supposed to target enterprises now, not end users.

      So yes even for enterprises the quest would look better probably, but can you even get an Oculus in China ?

      • Blaexe

        You can get an Oculus Go (rebranded as Xiaomi Mi VR). They’ll probably do the same with Quest.