An apparently never-before-seen HTC headset won an IF Design Award today, which arrived with multiple photos of what was listed as a consumer headset targeting release in 2021. The fitness-focused headset is just a concept, the company says, but we’re probably going to see many of its design elements in an upcoming HTC headset.
Update (10:00 AM ET): HTC has provided UploadVR with confirmation that Vive Air is indeed a concept, and not an in-development product despite being listed by IF Design as releasing to consumers in 2021. Here’s the statement from an HTC spokesperson:
“‘It’s exciting to see our concept piece, the VIVE Air VR headset, win an iF Design Award. While this is only a concept, the design language has elements and inspirations you’ll see elsewhere in our products. We’re not ones to rest on our laurels, so although it’s great to win this award, we have business to attend to – hopefully we’ll see you on 11/12 May at VIVECON.”
The original article remains unaltered below for the sake of clarity.
Original Article (8:30 AM ET): According to the page, the headset is called ‘Vive Air’ and is set to launch to consumers in Asia, Europe, and North America sometime this year. The news was first reported by Chinese-language publication Nweon.
HTC is set to unveil a standalone VR headset, as it confirmed earlier this month in a set of Tweets and a blogpost. We don’t have confirmation yet whether this is it, or a variant thereof. We’ll update this piece as soon as we know.
Here’s all of the photos available of the headset.
And here’s what HTC allegedly says about it on the IF Design site:
VIVE Air VR headset is specially designed for virtual fitness, optimized for high intensity with long use. Inspired by sports shoes, the new headset introduces knitted materials to VR to provide unprecedented comfort and fit. The breathable and quick-drying fabrics improve ventilation in the heated exercise. The innovative lightweight structure allows users to forget the presence of the head-mounted display to focus on virtual content. The quick-release design allows the removal of ergonomic soft components for washing.
The headset is undoubtedly very Quest-like in overall appearance, offering up four camera sensors for room-scale tracking and possibly also hand tracking. Keep in mind that many standalone headsets have adopted this style of four-sensor layout.
There’s little else to go on for now. The person using the headset seems to be using an armband and handgrip of some sort, however this may simply be regular workout gear and not some new fitness motion controller system.
What is clear however is HTC may be looking to tap into the growing at-home VR workout niche to set itself apart from the reigning champion, Oculus Quest 2. To compete with consumers located outside of the Facebook-less zone that is China, it may try its luck with a sportier piece of kit.