HTC is gearing up to hold what seems to be a new product unveiling on October 14th, or just ahead of Facebook Connect on the 28th of that month. The company says we’ll be hearing about some “big news in a small package.”

HTC announced the event on Twitter, saying it will take place on October 14th at 11 AM ET (local time here) in the company’s online event space, which is hosted by social VR platform Engage.

There’s still little indication what it might be, although we have some ideas. In February 2020, the company showed off a concept XR headset called Vive Proton, which was touted as a small form-factor device in the making, albeit in its early stages.

Image courtesy HTC

Presented in two flavors—a standalone model and a tethered model—it was suggested at the time that Vive Proton achieved its small form-factor via ‘pancake’-style optics, or the type we saw in the compact Pico VR Glasses prototype at CES 2020 right before in-person events were cancelled. Maybe a more refined version of the goggles fits into that thermos-looking thing as a protective charging case?

The company’s RSVP form for the event and tweet above also features a graphic with what appears to be the outside faceplate of Proton, although that may just be wishful thinking.

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Apparent Leak Unveils HTC Vive Flow, Including Price & Pre-order Date
Image courtesy HTC

The graphic’s headline ‘Go with the Flow’ may hold a more concrete clue, as a new HTC trademark for a product called ‘VIVE FLOW’ was filed on August 26th, 2021, which refers to a “[h]ead mounted display for computer simulated reality, namely virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality.”

In any case, it’s a pretty safe bet that whatever HTC unveils it will be squarely targeted at prosumers and businesses, although we’re always happy to be wrong. There’s really only one way to find out though, and that’s to tune in on October 14th and see what HTC has in store.

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  • xyzs

    After all the disappointments they created repeatedly, are we even supposed to be excited ..?

    • Charles

      All I ask is that they release an alternate model of the Vive Pro 2 that goes back to a decent level of stereo overlap, in exchange for a slightly narrower FOV.

      • XRC

        This^

        Was ready to purchase VP2, but no…

        • Charles

          I did purchase it, then returned it because the low stereo overlap ruined it.

          • XRC

            Had pre-order, cancelled after it became evident they’d traded stereo overlap for increased horizontal fov.

            Some people are sensitive to this, either from body intelligence or previous experience. Eye dominance can become an issue with reduced overlap.

            Having extensively used Vive, Rift CV1, Vive Pro, Lenovo explorer and Index, the differences in stereo overlap are very noticeable.

            for myself, Vive being best (1080p reference design), Index did open up the usable FOV with mildly canted optics, but with reduced overlap noticeable compared to Vive.

          • Charles

            Yeah, there’s a chart I have saved somewhere showing the overlap of each headset. The original Vive was highest, followed closely by Vive Pro 1.

            I had a CV1, Vive, Vive Pro 1, Index G1, Pimax 5K+, and I still have an Odyssey+.

            Returned the CV1 for the same reason as the VP2.

            The Odyssey+ has roughly the same overlap as the Index – just barely good enough to be a non-issue. I only notice it being incomplete if I try to. I still consider the Odyssey+ to be the best headset overall.

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          • mepy

            I honestly don’t notice any difference between the Vive, Vive Pro 1 and Vive Pro 2 in stereo overlap.

          • Charles

            The difference between the Vive and Vive Pro 1 is like 1 degree. The difference between those and the VP2 is like 20 degrees. Major binocular rivalry for me.

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      • Cless

        Since they would be doing that, throw in some OLED displays too. LCDs in dark environments/scenes feel like strapping an early 2000s monitor to your face, no matter how much they improve the black levels…

        • Charles

          I would generally agree, except having tried this headset, it’s actually good enough in that regard – because it has an automatically-adjusting backlight. Dark scenes no longer look grey, bright scenes no longer look dim. There’s just less contrast than OLED now – but I found it to be good enough, and a worthy tradeoff for the extreme resolution. I’ve complained about LCD many times, but I was pleasantly surprised by this screen. It was just the low stereo overlap that ruined it.

          • Cless

            Fair enough. That solves half the issues. Problem would be games where there is a lot of dark and bright things then, like space simulators and such. Hopefully we can bury LCD tech forever in VR this decade, in exchange of superior OLED or microLED. That is one of the things I really don’t mind paying a premium over.

      • Gonzax

        Narrower FOV??? no, thanks, anything but smaller FOV’s, with HTC or any other headset.

        • Charles

          I only meant back to the original FOV width, which is good enough if you replace the default padding with a thin pad to get closer to the lenses.

          What HTC did with the Vive Pro 2 is the equivalent of someone trying to lose weight by cutting off their hands. Widening the FOV does no good if you make the headset unusable as a result.

          • Gonzax

            LOL! nice example. I didn’t have the original Vive so I don’t know how it was and I only read bad things about the new FOV. I want something like the Index, with a wide and tall FOV or even bigger if possible. But yes, I agree with you, the way HTC did it is not the way to go and that is why I have zero hope in whatever new products they’re about to show.

    • Jistuce

      No, not really.
      I’d describe it as … resigned but hopeful. I want them to surprise me, step their game up, and make a product announcement worth making an announcement about. I just don’t really expect it.

  • Nicholas

    Wireless adapter 2.0?

    • mepy

      I wish, no news. I tried twittering questions about it, but no response.

  • Sky Castle

    once upon a time i was excited to get my htc vive in the mail. The wait was truly unbearable. Since then nothing from htc has excited me.

  • hithere

    Is it not just going to be the consumer release of the Focus 3?

  • mirak

    It will be the 7invensun eye tracking adapter.

    • No, that one has already been announced

      • mirak

        ok, it’s a VR dildo then.

  • Andrew Jakobs

    It is too soon after the Pro 2 and the Focus 3 for a new product, so I think it’s weird to release yet another headset.

    • Bob

      This is HTC we’re talking about here where business sense and logic doesn’t apply.

    • mepy

      Makes sense to have something ultra portable and that can use a phone or the laptop for GPU/CPU. Something that doesn’t take up the entire space in the backpack.

  • The object in the picture looks like one of those bottles where you put the coffee to keep it warm. Maybe they abandoned VR and went into the food and beverage market

  • Andrew Jakobs

    Looking at the webpage it seems like a real consumer product, and I think it’s something like tv-glasses or something like that.

  • mepy

    Obviously it’s the Vive “Proton” now named “Flow” (as you stream the flow from an other unit, phone or PC), this by process of elimination as all the other ideas of what it could be seems less likely given the images released. And “Proton” would indeed just about fit inside that case. What speaks against it being a ultra portable headset is where are the controllers? But could be they have figured out hand tracking. Will be interesting to see what resolution it has and if it’s really worthwhile for movies.

  • not_robo

    eh its ok, could be better