HTC today introduced its ‘5G Hub’ product, a 5G mobile hotspot mashed up with a media streaming device and a digital assistant. And “coming soon” is “cloud-based virtual reality” which promises to stream VR content directly to the Vive Focus, ‘no PC required’. Sounds great, and all you’ll need to wait for is the launch of a consumer version of the headset and hopeful deployment of massive new connectivity and cloud infrastructures.

Image courtesy HTC

HTC hopes that its 5G Hub, which is due out later this year in the US on the Sprint network, will be the center of your connected life. In addition to being a 5G hotspot, media player, digital assistant, and gaming device, the 5G Hub will, “in the future,” stream Viveport content from the cloud to the Vive Focus headset.

But the official page for the 5G Hub uses some teeny tiny fine print to point out two massive caveats:

“*The above scenario will depend on development of MEC technology and 5G infrastructure.”

Oh that’s all?

Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) and 5G are hugely complex infrastructure and cloud technologies which are still very well in their infancy. Not only are these technologies just beginning to roll out to some portions of select markets, they aren’t intrinsically linked, which means you might have 5G data access in your area eventually, but if there’s not the right MEC infrastructure in town, you’re SOL.

Which is to say… most of what needs to be in place for this cloud streaming feature to happen is not there yet, and HTC has no firm timeline for when it will be.

And then there’s the fact that they’re marketing this 5G Hub VR cloud streaming feature in the US as being compatible with the Vive Focus, a headset which is currently not available to consumers and has presently has no consumer release date.

Image courtesy HTC

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see a 5G Hub in every home streaming cloud-rendered VR content to affordable headsets across the globe. But it seems just a tad bit early to be marketing this feature which is unlikely to be available to most potential 5G Hub customers by the time a newer version of the 5G Hub is launched.

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  • JesuSaveSouls

    Will there be any side effects to such wrechnology using those airwaves and virtual streams in our minds ?

    • jj

      …is that a joke or are you serious?

      • brandon9271

        I think he’s serious. :-/ On a side note, Jesu seems like a pretty swell guy, being that he saves owls.

        • jj

          WHAT!? ANIMALS DONT GO TO HEAVEN!!!!!

          On another side note: Does jFreak know that these devices aren’t using some magical invisible force to communicate? I mean i know hes pretty brainwashed into that kind of stuff but does he really believe its some new harmful wave type that we dont know about?

          • Paul Branney

            Technically it may be… Approx 50%of the 5g spectrum is at the same frequencies used by the human body. As it is not fully tested before rollout, it could indeed be harmful. Limited trials so far have been linked to cancers (tsa workers in usa) and miscarriages (a UK trial) so larger trials are needed, and I for one will attempt to limit my exposure until there is more data. I suspect some people may be affected more than others and have to limit exposure on a more permanent basis, while others will be able to spend hours per day with a transmitter right next to their head without any noticeable effect. We do know that current pre-5g tech causes calcium leakage from cell membranes, which tells the body to repair damage, which appears to be be a positive with exposures of up to 40 minutes, but the long term effects are unknown. Europe wide studies of 2g lasted a decade from mid 90s and were only published late 2000s, but they had an upper limit of 200 mins per MONTH as a high user, so the tech and its usage scenarios do tend to change more rapidly than very large studies can keep up with!

          • dk
          • Paul Branney

            Most of the studies focus on cancer, but the signals are not strong enough to chemically affect molecules, and also do not cause a major heating effect. They can change the voltage potential over a membrane though, which is what leads to the calcium leakage. Whether this is a bad thing in the long term, or rebalances itself with no adverse effects, I am not aware. What I am more interested in is changes to the signals in and operation of the brain. I’ve no doubt the answers are known in regards to military applications, with China having agitated some boars into dispersing using 5g. Could this eventually be used to subtly change mood etc during a video game?

          • dk

            there is absolutely no demonstration of any effect beyond random noise in the research results
            “The results are easily consistent with noise plus possible unknown confounders. To highlight this, the study also showed that the exposed rats lived longer than the control rats. Headlines, however, did not declare that cell phone use makes you live longer. This is probably just as quirky and spurious a result as the higher tumor rates.”

      • gothicvillas

        Well, there is a link with 4g and cancer inducing illnesses.. look up, keeping phone close to the head do you no favours

        • NooYawker

          Some say there’s a link between coffee and cancer. Some say there’s a link between fabric softner and cancer. Some say there’s a link between french fries and cancer.
          Why there’s even a large population of morons who say vaccines cause autism.

          • gothicvillas

            Yes most of the cancer mutations we get are from so seemed mundane things. Animal meat is definitely up high there and causes lots of DNA mutations across generations. Not that we need to worry about it. We are mortals regardless. I wish and hope 5g is harmless as I would love to stream vr goodness :)

          • kool

            All of those are true except that last one.

        • dk

          no there isn’t ….it’s an absolute myth ….blasting the tiny bodies of rats for the most of the day for years show random noise in the results for tumors
          https://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/still-no-association-of-cell-phones-and-brain-cancer/
          https://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/underwhelming-cell-phone-rat-study/
          and 5g penetrates less

  • NooYawker

    I’d like to reserve addressing all this bullshit until they actually show what 5G can do rather than listen to articles that keep telling me how amazing this is going to be and how it’s going to change my life.

    • JDawg

      Absolutely. Just a bunch of marketing speech riding hyperbole around 5G.

  • Dave

    “hopeful deployment of massive new connectivity and cloud infrastructures.”

    Is this person not aware that 5G is happening this year… Last time I checked we also have cloud computing. I’m not actually sure what the problem is. As for 5G recievers, you can bet by the end of the year there will be 1000s of devices using 5G.

    So why does this person insist technology is a limiting factor?

    • benz145

      “Happening this year” is just the start of a perhaps a five year infrastructure rollout before reaching the point that coverage is actually common across a region like the US. On top of that, edge computing, the kind that can deliver the ~1-5ms latency that’s probably needed for a good cloud VR streaming experience is likely even further behind in terms of availability to a majority of consumers. If any more than a small pilot region is supporting this cloud streaming feature through the 5G hub by 2020, I will be very surprised.

      However they could also roll out a sub-par version of the feature earlier even if the bandwidth and latency isn’t quite there yet. We’ll have to wait and see, but there is no good VR cloud streaming available to consumer today (for cloud rendered content); this would be the very first if it’s actually high quality and latency free.

  • oompah

    Exciting times ahead
    Ray traced cloud gaming is the future

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  • anonimouse

    What ‘they’ won’t tell everybody is the fact that 5G will be one big health issued microwave zapper, worse then 4G, what ‘they’ olso did not tell told you. Well do your own research about the 5G ‘microwave’ story. It will kill people!

    • That’sright

      Judging by your writing skills, I’m going to say you don’t know what you’re talking about.