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).
— HTC VIVE (@htcvive) September 27, 2021
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.