HTC today announced more specifics around Vive Focus, the company’s standalone mobile VR headset for China-based customers.

Once destined for Western shores running Google’s Daydream platform, HTC recently surprised the world by scrapping those plans and limiting the release of the standalone headset to China where it will run the company’s ‘open source’ API Vive Wave and a mobile version of the Viveport store. While we were fairly certain of the headset’s basic specs thanks to Qualcomm’s reference design, not much else was known about the headset until today.

As reported by YiVian, HTC is putting out two versions: Electric Blue for ¥4,299 (~$650) and Almond White for ¥3,999 ($600). Besides a change in color, there doesn’t appear to be any difference between the two technically. Both 6 DoF headsets, which use HTC’s own ‘World Scale’ positional tracking, will arrive with a 3 DoF Bluetooth controller.

SEE ALSO
Vive Focus Hands-on Video Emerges from China

Pre-orders for China-based customers start December 12th and last until January 12th. HTC expects to start shipping its first wave of Focus headsets in China starting sometime in January 2018.

VIVE Focus Headset Specs

  • Tracking technology & sensors: World-Scale tracking (inside-out 6-degree-of-freedom),9-axis sensors, proximity sensor
  • Display: 3K AMOLED, resolution 2880 x 1600
  • Refresh rate: 75 Hz
  • FOV: 110 degrees
  • Adjustable IPD: Supported
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 835
  • Storage: MicroSD™ slot,up to 2TB MicroSD™ external memory
  • For data and device charging: USB Type-C
  • Audio input/output: Built-in microphones, built-in speakers, 3.5mm stereo audio jack
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi® 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, support to transmit contents to Miracast™ compatible devices
  • Power and battery: Built-in rechargeable battery, QC3.0 fast charging, up to 3 hours* of active use time, over one week* standby time

VIVE Focus controller

  • Sensors: 9-axis sensors
  • Buttons: Touch pad, app button, home button, volume +/- button, trigger
  • Power and battery: Two AAA batteries, up to 30 hours* of active use time

Update (12:20 PM ET): It was previously stated the HTC Vive Focus features Google’s WorldSense tracking. The company reached out to us to correct this, saying the headset incorporates their own ‘World Scale’ positional tracking solution.

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  • trekkie

    All dirty business politics … the losers are us game developers and gamers while these guys fight for turf and mess around. Sad.

  • Luke

    200 dollars? nice! thx oculus. (XD)
    p.s. only 50dollars of difference of a color? too cheap for me. If it was 100 dollars I could consider to buy it.

  • LarZen

    I wonder why this is not coming for sale outside China… Are HTC really going to let Oculus take the rest of the regions “all for themselves”?

    • dk

      the 6dof lenovo daydream headset is coming to more markets

      • G-man

        exactly, it was always weird that two companies were making essentially the same thing. and htc still isn’t out of the financial woods yet. a big mess up could still ruin them.

  • superdonkey

    too limited, too expensive, too little fov
    this is going for fail badly
    at least oculus are getting the price right at the lower end of vr

    • Mike

      Yeah. At least it’s setting a record for resolution – 1600 vertical lines versus the previous record of 1440. But that won’t last long, since the Pimax Kickstarters are shipping at the same time, and will presumably be available to consumers shortly thereafter.

      • Jeff Axline

        Samsung Odyssey is 1600 vertical lines.

        • Station

          You people are completely missing the point that this is groundbreaking STANDALONE VR, first of its kind, nothing else to compare it to except maybe Oculus Go which IDK a lot about, but just looks like a google daydream kind of thing.

          • dk

            oculus go is just a fancy gear vr …..it basically has absolutely no additional features except for not wasting your phone battery….the target audience is basically a present for kids ….or people that want something cheap and r too lazy to get into proper vr

            ……..and the focus is the first standalone with 6dof headset….and the 6dof lenovo daydream is also coming soon

          • Laurence Nairne

            Oculus’ ‘Santa Cruz’ is their response to the standalone VR generation – 6 DoF both headset and controller. The fact that the controller tracks space as well as the headset is enough to make me ignore HTC’s offering.

            ‘Go’, as DK right says below is a competitor at the lower end, but I disagree that it’s a present for kids – this will be revolutionary in the business sector where the requirement for cheap hardware en-masse will be crucial.

          • Veron

            there is absolutely nothing groundbreaking about this in the slightest.

            extremely reliable inside out tracking is groundbreaking, but Microsoft wins the plaudits for that….it has been done and is in commercial products since october. this is only standalone not due to any breakthrough in wireless etc, but because it essentially has a mobile chipset in it.

          • G-man

            the go has no positional tracking and the microsoft headsets are for connecting to a pc. this has positional tracking and doesnt have to be connected to a pc. but doesn’t have tracked controllers. thats stilla set of features no other product has done.

        • Same panel as the one used here, or at least a Samsung’s panel.

  • At $600 -to- $650, good luck with that.
    Look, I’m a hardcore gamer that loves VR, but there’s no way in hell I’d pay that much for that little in terms of specs. HTC’s sales folks need to get off the drugs.

    • CHEASE

      You can build a pc and buy a used rift for around the same amount of money.

      • G-man

        yeah sure you can

        • CHEASE

          I will personally sell you a rift and PC for that much money if you live in the Bay Area

          • G-man

            so you’ll sell me a $400 vr headset and a pc that can run it for $650? where did you steal it from?

          • CHEASE

            Just bought the stuff used. Here is my craigslist ad if you are interested: https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/sys/d/full-vr-system-with-oculus/6418296161.html

          • G-man

            so you bought it used, and then are going to sell it on even cheaper? sure

          • CHEASE

            Haha wow you sure are hard to fool g-man! Way to avoid being scammed and at the same time proving me wrong! Is that what you want to hear? It’s not true but you can tell yourself it is if it makes you feel better.

  • Andres Velasco

    Meh, not interested

  • Skippy76

    I dont get it.
    Why would you spend $650 for something that limits you so much..
    At least with the other brands, you can just take your phone out and use that. With this.. Its just a headset that plays the same portable apps. Passthru camera for AR? Big deal.. I think AR will just be a short lived novelty. No one wants to walk in public with a giant headset.

    • JustNiz

      > No one wants to walk in public with a giant headset.
      I agree but that doesn’t mean that AR won’t eventually be a thing. It will just happen when the technology is available to make the headset light and slim like no more than a pair of sunglasses.

      • RFC_VR

        I wear sunglasses whenever the sun is shining, an AR overlay would alert no one but me, in the best way (situational awareness, news feed, weather,etc.)

      • AndyP

        Not streets, but quite kids in back of cars, on trains, planes?

        • AndyP

          They just dropped the one child policy in China…

    • RFC_VR

      To be fair, walking in public wearing any VR HMD is a recipe for disaster (lampposts,etc.), AR perhaps a little better certainly less vulnerable as you can see, but open to glass-style public ridicule

    • Station

      Well seeing as I have a brain and intelligence I would have the good sense to not walk around in public with it, and could therefore think of another place to use it like the comfort and solitude of my entire home, and not write off incredible new products because of my own limiting stupidity.

    • Station

      Well seeing as I have a brain and intelligence I would have the good sense to not walk around in public with it, and could therefore think of another place to use it like the comfort and solitude of my entire home, and not write off incredible new products because of my own limiting stupidity.

    • G-man

      pass-through for ar? they have said nothing about that.

      can you take the seats out of your car and use them in your house? why would you buy a car if they limit you.

      oh thats right because vr from putting a phone in a plastic case sucks and the only way to improve that is to make a headset that doesnt need to use a phone.

  • TheObserver

    Strong lol at their pricing strategy. This needs to be 250$ max to become mainstream. Unless of course they don’t want to become mainstream.

    • G-man

      everything always has to be cheaper huh

  • Lucidfeuer

    Standalone VR headsets are still an incredibly idiotic thing, unless priced at 200$ for mobile experience event/client showcases…which of course is not at all how the VR market is going to make jumps…

    • Laurence Nairne

      In the industry I work in (comms and marketing for automotive, tech and retail), standalone VR is not an idiotic proposition. It makes total sense, as currently their option is either to purchase a fairly decent mobile device and a piece of plastic to slot it in, or buy a VR ready PC (cheaper to build a desktop, more convenient to purchase a ready made laptop) and a tethered headset.

      In many cases I’m finding they do not require the power of a high-end headset for the type of experiences we’re creating (and these mostly centre around training, not demoing/expos). But equally they’re spending way too much (for the mobile device) and then have some fiddly bit of plastic to try and patch together before they can use the technology.

      On the other hand, a single unit that you just sit on your head requires less training and hand holding with a group of people that will inevitably have a range of experience with VR from the non-existent to the enthusiast.

      Standalone VR is only currently a silly proposition when looking through the lens of entertainment and admittedly some higher levels of functionality and/or visuals fidelity – and a lot of the functional limitations can be worked around with creative UX design.

      • Lucidfeuer

        We agree on that: as I said, standalone headsets are only good as far as event/clients demo or showcases go. This has been in fact for me the biggest VR activity/production stream in 2017, and is probably going to be for the good of 2018, until later in the year…

        And that’s a huge problem: when a product like VR fails so hard at the customer/prosumer (as a practical device) markets, and gets relegated to an event/art or B2B showcase niche, this is exactly what happened in the 90s before VR disappeared into oblivion.

        Developers, agencies or start-ups are clearly not to blame, since they might the only ones making the existing field go round. But the corporations and manufacturers that bought on the Oculus idea (and company) only to ruin it with greedy cost limitations, as in arbitrary technology retention and slow-downs, to try and milk the maximum out of highly limited and mediocre products, will be responsible for VR failure.

        Back in 2015, there was only one direction that not only made sense but was also already accessible, practical and yieldable as far as the first consumer VR headset should’ve gone: there were already many higher FOV lenses options available, Oculus bought NimbleBit from a kickstarter campaign who already had an integrated hand-tracking system, and they also bought 13th Lab which already figured out precise and stable enough VSlam positional-tracking.

        They implemented none of that, instead vaporwared those start-up and technologies they had bought, did no addition R&D and instead just release a simple, updated DK2, while Vive did the same only to implement the Lighthouses that I find to be more and more idiotic (as I actually did originally) and adapt their Steam controller into VR controller (which have bad ergonomics but good functionalities). So there would be nothing mysterious if the VR market (you know, one of the biggest market of the 21th century) failed for this cycle.

    • G-man

      there is literally a $200 standalone vr headset coming out, the oculus go. it just doesnt have positional tracking. but i guess thats not how the industry is going to go. so i guess they will just scrap the go then.

      • Lucidfeuer

        After it somehow fails harder that the original Oculus, yes sure.

        • G-man

          it wouldn’t surprise me if oculus did somehow fuck up in some way. but then just in general you sound like you dont know what you are taking about and just hate oculus for some reason. they are going to sell a lot of those $200 headsets.

          • Lucidfeuer

            I don’t hate Oculus, I vastly prefer it’s design and build to the Vive or PSVR, but then specs, lenses and FOV are unbearable. Unless they try hard, they will not fuck-it up but simply get the result you can expect from such positioning: if it’s not a smartphone, nor a high-end VR headset, then they will sells pack for the very specific cases of B2B, conventions and maybe art, which are very tiny markets for such devices.

          • G-man

            yeah, tiny market for a £200 all in vr headset. sure.

  • oompah

    my limit is at 200 USD

    • gothicvillas

      buy PS Vita on ebay then

    • G-man

      youve got a while to wait then.

  • dk

    so people want a stand alone with the hardware of a phone that costs 700-1200 bucks and then r surprised when the headset costs more than 150 bucks …..lol …..computer headsets cost almost nothing to make because there is almost nothing inside them
    thinking that standalones with modern hardware capable of 6dof will be cheaper than a desktop headset is completely flawed thinking……but they do have some healthy margins with this price(also the vive over there is 850) it could go down to 450 or something

  • gothicvillas

    600 bucks for glorified google cardboard lol

    • G-man

      it has positional tracking. it’s not cardboard.

  • This is just a polished version of the Qualcomm mobile reference design for VR (https://developer.qualcomm.com/hardware/snapdragon-835-vr-development-kit). The tracking system is a parallax system similar to the Microsoft Mixed Reality Headset with a special “Hexgon” DSP to reduce main processor loading.

    In fact, it was easy to convert the MSXR to a mobile, tether-less system by using a Intel Kaby Lake NUC. Which in my opinion offers a much better solutions than this and you can build one for a couple of hundred dollars more. Of course this requires a belt system to hold the NUC & battery pack, but I get 3 hours on 80 mAH Li-Ion battery. Oh and the fact you can run some Steam stuff on MSXR and you can’t buy the HTC Focus in the US, is also a reason to to buy a MSXR. I am now working on budget VR backpack for about $700 using a KabyLake i5 & NVIDIA GTX 1050ti. Runs great in MSXR Ultra mode and yesterday solved the power board problem allowing me to finally to run this in SteamVR in the Valve “the Lab” app. Here is a demo of it using the MSXR Cliff House video capture tool to record the results.

    https://youtu.be/Rd7keJOVsUU

    • silvaring

      The competition between wireless (5G) VR, desktop VR, mobile VR and laptop VR is going to be a blood bath these next few years. Every category will want to extol the virtues of their approach while dissing their competitors.

  • fuyou2

    STUFF THIS USELESS TOY!! WHERE IS THE NEW VIVE 2??