A series of cryptic tweets with teasing imagery have dropped on the official HTC Vive account in the last week, but what do they point to?
It’s been a year since we’ve seen new hardware from HTC. It was back in March of 2020 that the company launched Vive Cosmos Elite, a variant of the Cosmos headset with SteamVR Tracking. The company was also planning to launch other variants of the headset, Cosmos Play and Cosmos XR, but went quiet about those variants not long after their announcement, apparently in a change of product strategy.
Now, a year later, the company is teasing something new, but we’re not sure it’s a new headset just yet. Here’s a look:
Express yourself. pic.twitter.com/a4RnnWRVM8
— HTC VIVE (@htcvive) March 8, 2021
Curiously in the photo above, Twitter user Nikolaj Stausbøl spotted a tiny date hiding in plain sight, which appears to read “3/10/21.” We confirmed that the date exists in the original photo, which you can see enlarged below.
Also interesting about the photo is that it looks to be a known device—the Vive mouth-tracking development kit, as Twitter user OXIOXI pointed out, which has been in the hands of developers since at least the middle of 2020. The phrase “express yourself” in the original tweet seems to confirm this further.
While HTC could just be needlessly teasing a device that’s already out there, it seems more likely that the company might have an upgraded version of the mouth-tracker in development, possibly one aimed at enthusiast VR users.
That’s not the only teaser photo. The company also tweeted this one:
It's your move. pic.twitter.com/BEdC37BiTb
— HTC VIVE (@htcvive) March 4, 2021
Interestingly this photo also may well be referencing a known device… the Vive Tracker, HTC’s SteamVR Tracking peripheral which can be used to track additional objects or limbs in VR.
The existing Vive Tracker has a Vive logo at the very center which doubles as a button to interface with the device (this is the only Vive product we’re aware of that uses the logo in this way).
Perhaps we’re reading a little too far into it, but logo in the teaser photo clearly appears raised, and looks a good bit like it could be a button as well. That makes us think we’re either looking at a new version of the Vive Tracker, or HTC is expanding the use of the logo-button trope.
There’s other clues still, including a tweet asking users, “what would you do with 70% more energy?” with no other context.
What would you do with 70% more energy? pic.twitter.com/F4adUsmFC7
— HTC VIVE (@htcvive) March 5, 2021
Combined with the phrase “it’s your move,” and several other tweets from the account highlighting dancers in VR (many of whom are using Vive Trackers to track their feet), it seems like the company might be pointing toward a new Vive Tracker with better battery life.
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Curiously, these tweets don’t seem to be talking about things we already know the company is working on. Like a new version of its Vive Focus headset with an XR2 processor, which was spotted last year. Nor does it appear to be teasing the Vive Proton, a prototype standalone VR headset that the company revealed in early 2020.
If the date in hidden in the tweet further above is anything to go by, we could be due to see a full reveal (or at least some more teasing) come Wednesday.
What are your best guesses about what HTC is teasing? Let us know in the comments below.