HTC recently said that it will host an online Vive event next week, but has only teased minimal hints about what it plans to announce. Regulatory filings spotted by Road to VR suggest a new standalone HTC Vive headset will be revealed.

It’s been less than five months since HTC launched its most recent VR headsets—the Vive Pro 2 and Vive Focus 3—but it looks like they’ve got another up their sleeve.

Just ahead of next week’s HTC Vive event, a new “HTC Vive headset” has appeared in regulatory filings submitted by the company to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The FCC is tasked with certifying products with electromagnetic emissions to be safe and compatible with regulations. Products utilizing radio, WiFi, infrared, etc. need certification before they can be distributed for sale. Certification by the FCC marks one step closer to the launch of consumer electronics product.

The new headset is identified by the model number 2Q7Y100, which doesn’t match any known Vive headsets thus released. Although the company has requested confidentiality of key filings which would clearly identify the headset, there’s some clues in the available information which point toward a standalone headset.

For one, the device’s FCC label—which all consumer electronics devices are required to have—is an ‘e-label’, which means instead of being printed on the device it’s accessible through the device’s software. Specifically, the user can access the FCC label by going to Settings → About → Regulatory Information. In fact, this is the same labeling approach that HTC’s Vive Focus 3 uses.

Further supporting the likelihood of this new Vive headset being standalone is documentation detailing Wi-Fi test reports which measure to ensure that the device’s Wi-Fi broadcasts are within the legal ranges. It appears the device uses a Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) radio. Most dedicated PC VR headsets use some form of Bluetooth for controller connectivity, but none of them use Wi-Fi.

HTC has kept its teasing for next week’s event pretty minimal thus far. The company has been using the phrase, “Go with the Flow,” (notable emphasis on “Flow” as a proper noun), in its promotions which have included photos with a cylindrical case of some sort. Ostensibly the headset will be small enough to fit inside the case, which would suggest a headset much more compact than most of what’s on the market today (if the scale of the photoshopped images can be trusted, anyway).

That certainly falls in line with the Vive Proton headsets that the company initially teased way back in early 2020; though they haven’t talked about them much since. If this new standalone is based on Proton, the headset seems likely to have been rebranded to Vive Flow, which the company trademarked in late August.

There’s also the possibility that Vive Flow won’t be a VR headset at all, but will actually be the company’s first AR headset based on Qualcomm’s ‘Smart Viewer’ reference design.

All will be revealed soon enough; HTC’s event will be held next week on October 14th.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Source Caster

    I don’t think so. I think it’s most likely something software related – set of tools to make you VR life better or something. May be some hardware involved as well but I doubt it’s a headset. At least not VR one.

    • too many signs pointing to at least an MR headset. The picture shown at the top matches almost exactly to the front of the Vive proton, so there’s little room for debate there. It may be AR or it may be MR/VR, but there’s almost no way it’s just software, especially with that open case involved.

      • mirak

        Shown at the top of what ?

        • Pulstar44

          Yeah

        • Blaexe

          Top of this article.

      • Source Caster

        Well it would be nice for sure! But I wonder why would anyone expect anything worthy from HTC at this point. After so many failures and inability to see what’s important. I’d rather keep expectations low whatever it is they’re going to announce.

    • XRC

      Software doesn’t require FCC testing…

      • Source Caster

        And FCC testing doesn’t mean they’re ready to announce whatever they are testing. :)

        • XRC

          I actually know exactly what this is but it was described as “I had a dream…” due to recipient (well known developer) under strict NDA..

    • dk

      “equipment under test: vive headset” ……could be ar/mr

    • mepy

      I thin it’s both. Both a new portable headset and also some new software.

  • dk

    it has to be based on the same qualcomm platform as lenovo a3 ….using it with a laptop like that
    …..hmm mode of operations …..does it have bluetooth and wifi …interesting

  • dk
    • dk
      • Pulstar44

        According to these patents it has a built-in circuit board and a fan for heat dissipation. Interesting. Definitely looks like the proton. If this could be used for steam VR it would definitely shake things up

        • Blaexe

          There were 2 different Proton concepts shown: All-in-one and All-in-two.

          But as alway: Don’t mistake patents for products.

          • Pulstar44

            Never do. Just find it interesting. And I’m sure htc will disappoint as always.

    • CIR

      Good find. Will be interesting to see if this is the form factor, and if so, what about the light bleed from the sides?

      • dk
        • silvaring

          And how is this thing going to not fly off your face when playing a game that has you moving around 360 degrees continuously?

          • dk

            did u see the pico images u can connect the 2 temples in the back via 2 holes …and the flow could be 3dof for all we know with the current promotional images on a couch and on a laptop …or it could be an ar headset identical to lenovo a3
            also the proton has images with an optional processing unit on the back of the head if u haven’t seen those images
            and if u want it to stick to your head

          • silvaring

            Well I hope that whatever engineering efforts have been made they actually work, otherwise its gonna be a no starter for a lot of people who want to upgrade from their Quests / WMR / Vives.

          • Blaexe

            I’m 100% sure this is not intended to be an upgrade from these anyway. HTC is probably looking for its own niche.

        • xyzs

          Don’t be so hopeful.
          I bet that will end up with a stuff like “Hey! The new Vive Wands v2 with 1.4x the battery life!”

          • dk

            at the moment with what is available …I would guess it likely might be 3dof and still $500 …sooo yeah I’m not betting it will be worth it

          • mirak

            V2 already exists.

  • MosBen

    Still waiting for a new VR headset to get me back into the hobby after selling my CV1 about a year ago. I don’t want to buy anything from Facebook, and nothing else feels really next gen, or like it surpasses the Index across the board.

    • Charles

      Try the Samsung Odyssey+ (with a VR Cover, and with OpenVR Advanced settings to eliminate “black smear”).

      It’s the only headset I’ve ever had that I felt is good enough long-term. It has the best set of trade-offs. And I’ve tried at least 10 headsets, starting with the Oculus DK1.

      • MosBen

        I know that there are people who are fans of that HMD, but I’m not going to invest in a 4 year old headset at this point. Even if someone believed that the Odyssey+ was better than the Index, and I think that that’s a minority opinion, at this point I’m just waiting for something that’s going to be better than both.

        • Charles

          Technically it’s 3 years old this month.

          Well it’s definitely the majority opinion on /r/WindowsMR.

          Index has really bad black levels and bad contrast, and very noticeable SDE.

          I’m also waiting for something better than everything else – but enjoying the O+ in the meantime.

          I thought the Vive Pro 2 would finally replace my O+. Tried it out – nope. Best resolution, surprisingly good screen quality for LCD, but unacceptably low binocular overlap / stereo overlap (which was also why I returned my Oculus CV1 years ago).

          • MosBen

            Yeah…I did a bad math. And yeah, unfortunately it seems like in most of the reviews of HMDs that have come out since the Index there’s some feature which is an upgrade, but on the whole the Index still comes out on top (again, in the reviews). It also doesn’t help that I build a new PC last Fall and held off on buying a new graphics card to save money, right before graphics cards became impossible to find. I have a GTX 1070, which is a perfectly reasonable card for playing flat games, but I’m concerned that if I end up with a new HMD before the graphics card shortage is over, which seems somewhat likely, it’s going to be insufficient.

          • mirak

            You can reduce the scale factor still.

          • MosBen

            I suppose, though how lame is that? And realistically it seems reasonably likely that an new HMD will be released which replaces the Index at the best of the bunch before the graphics card shortage is resolved, so I probably will need to do something like this. Still, annoying.

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  • SwankyB

    I have not a shred of confidence left in HTC but I’d love to be proved wrong

  • mepy

    It’s definitely a new headset, the email from Vive and the Vive Flow webpage both feature the outlines of a headset and lenses images.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5fcaf2701fcba7b55436b4684af19355c7c4c0e88b579d88c1ca1426ec1caf13.jpg