You can now register for HTC’s upcoming VIVECON event. The free, online event will be held May 11th & 12th, and the company is promising to reveal “game-changing VR headsets,” (yes that’s plural headsets), alongside presentations from “industry experts, strategic partners, and special guests.”

HTC has been teasing an upcoming VR headset over the last month, and has now confirmed it will be revealed during next month’s Vivecon event. Interestingly, it seems the company may even reveal more than one headset, based on the description provided on the Vivecon website.

Keynote Event: We debut what’s new. Take a front-row seat at the VR event of the year as HTC VIVE unveils game-changing VR headsets, software, and platforms to take your experience to another level.

While the full schedule hasn’t yet been posted, it appears that the keynote will happen on May 11th at 9AM PT (see your timezone here). Registration for the free event is available now; HTC says it will email registrants additional details (likely the full event schedule and where to watch) closer to the event.

Little is known so far about what headset the company will reveal, save for some teasing photos that HTC shared earlier this month:

Some additional teasing, like the company tweeting “let’s get down to business” alongside one of the photos, suggest that the headset may be enterprise focused.

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In early 2020 HTC revealed Vive Proton, a prototype compact standalone VR headset. However, we’ve heard little about Proton since then, and the designs revealed don’t seem to bear much resemblance to the newer teaser photos. Granted, it’s likely that the Proton designs could have significantly changed given that we’re more than a year removed from the initial reveal.

Beyond the headset (headsets?) reveal, HTC indicates that the event will cover several categories of XR: collaboration, training, health, design, LBE / arts, and development.

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  • Very interesting! Headsets!

    • Sven Viking

      Optimistically that plural might explain the seeming discrepancy between “let’s get down to business” and “people will have that same level of excitement as they did in 2016 when we came out with the initial [consumer] Vive”.

      • Charles

        Hope they release 2 or more versions at different price ranges, with the top one having all features of the best of current VR (OLED, ~4K, comfort, 120Hz, good FOV, maybe even a wireless add-on).

        • I’m fine with 90Hz Max as long as we start seeing increased FOV being a priority going forward. For me it’s much more important than pushing more frames. I’d rather CPU cycles favoring FOV immersion than higher refresh rates beyond 90hz. Diminishing returns beyond that for the CPU/GPU overhead.

  • mepy

    I’m hoping for a Vive Pro upgrade, maybe they will use the dual Taiwanese AU Optronics 2,9″ 3456×3456 HDR LCD screens that were demoed in 2019 with the WiGig wireless adapter? The HP Reverb uses dual 2,9″ screens, so it’s not impossible, although it would mean the same FOV.

    • Bob

      “3456×3456 HDR LCD screens with 2304 individually controlled LED backlight elements rather than one global backlight (better black levels)”

      Local dimming (if using LCD) is sorely needed to get contrast levels closer to OLED which is mandatory for HDR. Theoretically, this next headset from HTC could incorporate this technology and it could be cheaper than using OLED but it requires a lot more work from both the display and the software required to drive the LED backlights.

      Personally speaking, I don’t think HTC would go this route. You would always get better contrast by just going OLED, and not to mention it’s far more practical for a VR-specific display. Indeed HDR could be still be a possibility, and with a use-case such as VR, it’s definitely an essential standard going forward that simply must be adopted by higher-end headsets. This unfortunately requires displays capable of localized dimming which raises the overall cost of production.

      • okExpression

        I have a DLP projector with 400:1 native contrast (quite decent actually) and the idea that you need better contrast for HDR is a myth. For the HDR10 standard, which expects some detail in the dimmer ranges it is, but for “high dynamic range” as a general term it definitely isn’t mandatory and HDR10 compatible DLP video projectors aren’t relying on marketing gimmick to sell. The difference is clear to any viewer. It’s another question that these R,G,B LED-powered projectors have exceptional color gamut compared to any consumer non-quantum dot LCD or OLED.

        • Bob

          Wider color gamut is only part of the picture. Yes you can do HDR without local dimming but I think my point here is that local dimming is absolutely essential to fully take advantage of what the standard is all about. So yes, mandatory is the incorrect word. Ideally with LCD you have at the very least local dimming, color space extending into rec 2020, and the capability to reach a certain level of peak brightness for the sake of contrast ratio (HDR 10 is 1000 nits) which ensures your experience of HDR is differentiated enough from SDR. This is why the HDR 10 standard exists.

          Let’s be honest here, if you’re going the direction of current headsets now where every pixel is illuminated with the same backlight, you’re not going to have a great experience or rather different enough experience from what you’ve seen before. DLP video projectors can have exceptional color but those simply cannot hold a candle to even a mid-range edge-lit LCD TV with local dimming in terms of ‘impactful‘ HDR (HDR 10 standard as an example) . It’s not even up for debate.

          • okExpression

            You don’t get to decide what’s up for debate.

            HDR on DLP is impactful enough for TI to bother supporting and advertising it.
            In case you need a reminder, video projectors in the largest cinemas still have the same contrast as before and people aren’t complaining about it.

            Local dimming and edge-lit are mutually exclusive technologies, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

            Dolby think of a new “standard” daily. Their existence doesn’t prove their need, you’re simply a victim of advertising and doing their advertising for them for free for some internet points by even more clueless readers.

            If 1,000,000 to 1 contrast wasn’t as easy to achieve with OLED Samsung would never exagerrate the importance of contrast over so many other features.

            Of course it makes a difference, doesn’t mean it’s as needed as claimed.

          • Bob

            “Local dimming and edge-lit are mutually exclusive technologies, you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

            A standard mid-range LCD TV is most often outfitted with LEDs that run along the sides of the panel so I’m not sure what your point here is. Surely you already know how they work in tandem to create a dimming effect, right? Or, we’re moving into semantics here?

            Nothing was being advertised so stop pulling things out of thin air. The features stated (wide color gamut, local dimming, peak brightness) are all important contributing factors to getting your average Joe to clearly identify the difference in picture quality between SDR and HDR. The same rules apply to VR unless you have a better and more practical solution to create “impactful” HDR pictures using an LCD panel?

          • okExpression

            Cheap, not mid range TVs, use illumination LEDs on the side for so called “edge lit” setup. Same with VR or smartphone LCDs. This allows the LCD to be thinner than back illumination.These are mutually exclusive to FALD (full array local dimming) you are describing.
            First, they are not dimmable. Second, TV manufacturers tried to make them dimmable years ago but quickly realized 1D dimming array is not anywhere useful and switched to a 2D array of backlit dimming zones (FALD). This was years ago and what the prototype VR LCD you commented on also uses. Having 2304 LEDs just running on the side rather than the back would be very dumb for local dimming, especially at 52mm space and especially when the FOV is at least 3x bigger than the average TV.

            And no, you are advertising certain features without realizing it. Same way some users here advertise certain features more preferred by Facebook for their walled garden without realizing it.

          • okExpression

            Look I already explained my view on these so called standards and subjective terms like impactful.

        • psuedonymous

          HDR stand for High Dynamic Range. Without a high dynamic range it is not HDR. Colour gamut has nothing to do with it, nor resolution. Dynamic Range is the range of luminance values between the brightest and darkest available (AKA contrast ratio) within a single scene – i.e. without ‘global dimming’ as some monitors attempt to inflate their back-of-the-box contrast ratio with.

          ‘HDR’ displays without a high dynamic range is like those old ‘HDTVs’ that accepted a HD input and then displayed it on an SD panel.

      • mepy

        Taiwanese INT Tech has a 2228 PPI AMOLED screen for VR, but it’s only a 2,17″ screen, so not really usable in a VR headset as they require at least dual 2,9″ screens to maintain the current FOV of around 110°.

    • okExpression

      That panel is a prototype. There have actually been quite a few prototype hi res 3K-4K LCD and OLED panels since 2016. There are fundamental issues with all of them, but specifically poor light efficiency and achieving good yield (cost).

      Getting one such panel working properly is not hard, the issue is when you need it mass manufactured reliably. Until then such protoypes are only good to show off and for their investors or shareholders.

      Hi res local dimming adds an extra challenge to all of the above. Don’t forget how much mid-range local dimming adds to LCD TV cost which aren’t even this small.

      Considering this is HTC who recently though it was impressive to attach a CCTV camera under a Vive to barely track the lips I’m not sure where you got the idea that this is any real possiblity.

      • mepy

        Yeah, I’ve been trying to research what screens could go into a new high resolution headset, but the prototypes all seem to have limitations that exclude them as a possibility. Most of the prototype screens in the 1000-2000PPI range weren’t large enough to be used in a VR headset.

    • mirak

      No, I want OLED.
      Don’t jinx it.

      • jiink

        jiinks! Personally I’m wondering how an HDR lcd will compare to OLED in an HMD

      • mepy

        Then you will have to wait, the high PPI AMOLED screens that have been developed are not large enough to be used in a VR headset with the current FOV of over 110°.

        • Charles

          I’d be happy with as low as 1800p OLED if the headset’s other features are at least as good as the Odyssey+ (but preferably it would have improvements on other features).

    • Rogue Transfer

      From the first phone using Snapdragon 888, it appears to have thermal and high power issues to drive it faster, making it unsuited for use in standalone. Which is probably why Qualcomm didn’t announce an XR3 based on it, and instead have promoted again the XR1 instead.

      Even the XR2 has thermal issues seen with the Quest 2 having the CPU underclocked at only up to half speed. Though, we have seen benchmark leaks of an HTC headset that show it running an XR2 at full CPU, with almost double the numbers the Quest 2 gets in the same test. So, that could be very interesting. They may have a better cooling system allowing the XR2 to reach its full potential.

      • mepy

        A phone has no cooling system at all, a VR headset at least can have fans and some propper heatpipes. The XR2 is downclocked on the Quest 2 because of heat issues, but only the CPU parts of it, the Adreno 650 GPU in the XR2 is not downclocked. The Snapdragon 888 has the Adreno 660 GPU. The Adreno 660 is 35% faster and has 22% better power efficiency.

        • Rogue Transfer

          The Snapdragon 888 phone was compared with another 865(the chipset the XR2 is based on) phone – it had much worse thermals in the same situation. Similarly, if put in an HMD with a cooling system like Quest 2, it would have to be underclocked.

          You should check the actual Adreno 660 power & heat from the actual reported benchmark results done by testers – not the manufacturer’s claims. It looks like it’s turning out not to have better power efficiency, but worse than the Adreno 650 at that 35% faster.

          Of course, we’ll need to wait for more 888 phones to come out with it, to be sure. But, the early signs are bad on power efficiency and power drain. It’s looking like it’ll end up worse than an XR2 in performance, if you compensate for the test results increased power draw reported.

  • xyzs

    “ In early 2020 HTC revealed Vive Proton, a prototype compact standalone VR headset.”

    A prototype means a working unit not mass produced. These were just cg renders. That’s called a concept.

    • benz145

      It was HTC’s claim that they were prototypes.

  • Wasn’t Valve building the same type of compact headset back in 2019?

  • MosBen

    Keeping my fingers crossed on this one. I got rid of my Rift CV1 last fall, leaving me down to just a Quest 1 for VR. I’m very tempted by the Index, but I feel like it’s a step behind in technology now, but hasn’t come down in price and there’s no telling when/if Valve will update it. I also don’t want to get a Quest 2 for Facebook reasons. So hopefully there will be at least one headset to come out of this that will fit what I’m looking for.

    • TechPassion

      Get HP Reverb G2 – the best VR headset so far.

      • MosBen

        Eh, based on the RtVR review, it sounds like a bit of a mixed bag, with the G2 doing some things better than the Index and others not as well. I’m holding out for something that’s a clear and definitive leader. And to be honest, things like resolution are nice, but fit, comfort, and tracking are a bit more important to me.

      • Justin Hogue

        Best if it works. I still have problems with usb connectivity and 90 hz. Wonderful lenses. I have both and index is better engineered.

      • Charles

        Odyssey+. OLED, and best vertical FOV. Reverb’s contrast and black levels are like a cheap business laptop strapped to your face.

      • Really bad windows mixed reality based tracking, horrendously designed controllers and anemic FOV. 2160×2160 screens and index class audio are its only draw and that will be the standard soon. I’ll wait. Quest 2 will satisfy until then.

  • VR5

    Maybe they could expand on their “one in two” strategy (support several devices, PC or smartphone, with the same HMD) to include game consoles? Like Xbox or Switch. Depends on if either MS or Nintendo would partner with them, obviously. So probably not.

    I so want more and better Nintendo VR.

  • 3872Orcs

    Needs to be wireless or else I’m not interested. Though I also kind of dread going back to 90hz and a lower FOV than Valve Index, which I kind of expects to happen :( But that is for a PCVR headset. If they do launch a standalone that can compare to Quest 2 I’ll be very interested in that as well, for standalone 90hz is fine for me.

    • Charles

      Needs to be OLED or I’m not interested. But I’m definitely interested in wireless and higher refresh than 90Hz.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        Don’t count on it being OLED, none of the newer headsets lately have been OLED.

        • Charles

          I’m expecting disappointment, but trying to be somewhat optimistic. The non-OLED trend is because VR-suitable OLED screens haven’t progressed in resolution or refresh rate since 2018, and headset makers wanted to save money while increasing spec numbers they can market. If there’s a new development in OLED screens, and/or they design an expensive high-end product, we’ll probably get OLED.

    • jbob4mall

      It also needs to be stand alone and not require an expensive pc or I’m not interested.

      • Jonathan Winters III

        Most people share your view. This headset will not be a Quest competitor.

  • Tom Price

    Please please please be something like lightweight sunglasses/ski goggles and a cord down to the electronics on a belt – super lightweight and doesn’t heat up. Oh, and pass through AR… while you’re at it. Don’t be a me-too product, really get some Moore’s law tech doubling every 18 months and it’s been almost 3 years mojo going on here.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Just look at the images in the email (see my post above (sorting on newest).

      • Tom Price

        That’s looking pretty sweet from the looks of it. Thanks

  • Andrew Jakobs

    Well, the with the emails they send they seem to reveal more and more about how the headset will look:
    https://go.vive.com/rs/058-SUW-894/images/VIVECON2021_video_part2.gif
    https://go.vive.com/rs/058-SUW-894/images/VIVECON2021_video_part1.gif

    • mepy

      Looks thin. Also maybe that’s a flip up? Interesting with the large ventilation.

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    • Rogue Transfer

      From these images we can see it has at least four cameras, two facing down and two on the upper corners in the second pic(you can see the headphone arm).

    • Great pics! That first one really shows more than we’ve seen to date and I haven’t seen that pic anywhere. Looks very sleek. Nice. Hopefully it has good horizontal FOV 120 degrees at least should be the new standard vs 100 now.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        The first 2 images come from the Vivecon mails HTC sends themselves, the last one is just me trying to be smart and based on the earlier send image links, so I guess there will be a third email sometime this week which will contain that image.

        • Got it. I see that now. Hopefully the specs are worthy of the look!

    • Bob

      Looks very impressive so far!

    • I get pic 1 completely, its the front of the headset. Pic 3 is obviously the top of the headset. What I can’t put together is where pic 2 fits in. Almost looks like a headband with a tracking camera. I cannot put it together with the other two pics, almost like its a different product.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        pic 2 is the (looking from the front) the upper left side of the front, so you see the left upper camera and the start of the ‘strap’, at least that’s my understanding, OR the lower right camera and they just had the headset upside down.

        • Ah, that makes sense now that I look at it that way. I suppose I was just thinking the camera would not be directed at such a vertical orientation, but lookinat at my Quest 2, those top cameras do appear to be in a similar orientation.

    • jbob4mall

      Looks like another over priced headset with features most people (except idiot pc gamers) don’t care about, yet added because they are in the mistaken belief audience want ‘value’ over price. And if they keep adding crap the price will become acceptable (it won’t). Get rid of the useless tech fat and make it affordable. Learn from Nintendo.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        Oh please, if there is actually a useless over priced piece of hardware, it’s the Nintendo crap. Nintendo actually uses older hardware to have a higher profitmargin, and by god, the boring games they have these days, talk about rehashing old crap.

        • jbob4mall

          Yet, they are a huge success. In fact, not even just Nintendo. Sony was more successful with their weaker ps1 and ps2 consoles. The 3DS beat the Vita. That’s also true in other things. People still mostly prefer DVD’s over blu-ray’s and especially 4k.

          Boring games? What’s boring are these soulless, linear, photo realistic games. Games that look real in a screenshot, but then are static and lifeless. It’s why Metroid Prime 3 on the shitty wii looked better than 90% of the games on ps3 and Xbox.

          These vr developers can learn a thing or two from Nintendo. But instead they catering to the pc crowd.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            uhh, back than Sony’s PS1 and PS2 were the best you could get at that time, and at the time the PS1 was released it there wasn’t even a decend PC GPU, the first was the 3DFX which only arrived 3 years later.
            And I really can’t take you serious if you say MP3 looked better than 90% of the games on the Ps3/xbox.

            And I really don’t get what vr developers can learn from Nintendo or how they cater for the pc crowd.

          • jbob4mall

            PS1 games didn’t look good as Nintendo 64. They had the advantage of CD-ROM though. PS2 was definitely not the best you could get. GameCube and Xbox were superior and far less successful.

            MP3 did look better. Great style with good animations and a world that felt alive with lots of interactivity. In Deadspace I got stopped from moving forward by a chair…with wheels on it… In Bioshock I hit the books on desks with my weapons and nothing happened. In Luigi’s Mansion you can manipulate the environment with the vacuum. That’s on a GameCube. I was so disappointed by last generation I actually quit gaming for a long while.

            I told you. They need to do what Oculus Quest 2 is doing. Making an affordable device and not making chasing after the graphical power crowd.

            You also need to take into account cloud gaming. You can play Hitman 3 on the Nintendo Switch at a graphical level the Switch wasn’t designed to produce. That’s insane. I imagine it would work the same way with OQ2 in the future?

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Nintendo64 came out almost 2 years after the PS1, so yeah, no shit it had a better GPU by that time.

            Also you’re just talking BS about MP3 looking better in regard to interactivity. And comparing MP3 to the much higher detailed game like Deadspace or Bioshock is also like comparing apples and oranges. And looking at the low polygon models Luigi’s Mansion is using, again, no comparison..

            Oh, I certainly agree with ‘lower’ graphics not being a problem, I also like a lot of games with ‘lowpoly’ style, even in VR (or rather, especially in VR), but having nicer visuals is certainly something a lot of people want, having Read Dead Redemption 2 (ultra) visuals in VR is what a lot of people want, but a lot of people aren’t being realistic in regard to the need of graphical power to drive those images.

            To be honest, I think in 10 years time, cloudstreaming will be the way most people will play their games.

          • jbob4mall

            It doesn’t matter when the N64 came out. PS1 outsold it by a wide margin. The weaker console won.

            I was more impressed by MP3 than I was with Dead Space and Bioshock. That gen was a great disappointment to me to the point I gave up gaming. Not saying I was happy with how weak wii was. But playing ps3 games just bummed me out. I don’t see how low polygons have to do with clothe blowing in the wind in Luigi’s Mansion while the clothe in Bioshock was a static image. There’s absolutely no reason a more powerful console couldn’t do the same.

            Point is, there’s a limit to how much great visuals are important to them.

          • Chojin

            One additional point to be made here. Unlike Nintendo, Nvidia and AMD are developing new tech that will eventually make it’s way into Nintendo gear, not the other way around. The Nintendo is being driven by a chipset from Nvidia. That chipset was developed as bleeding edge stuff at one point. See where this is going? How do you think Nvidia paid for the development of that tech? Buyers scooping it up because it was cool, albeit expensive tech. Now it has aged, economies of scale have kicked in and Nvidia can sell it cheap to Nintendo while they work on the new hotness.

      • Chojin

        No one should take this post seriously when he leads by insulting PC gamers. Calling people names is one of the most basic ways to show you have no solid argument.

        People will still buy Nintendo gear AND others will buy this. They are not mutually exclusive. To equate one directly to the other lacks solid reasoning. That is like saying Porsche should be taking cues from Toyota. They both have a place, and plenty of buyers for them. Can you have fun in a Toyota? You bet. Can some of us have MORE fun in a Porsche than a Toyota on a track? Absolutely.

        • jbob4mall

          Yeah. But Porsche fans don’t complain about Toyota. You don’t see car fans arguing that cheaper cars are holding the car industry back. The opposite actually.

          • Chojin

            You are correct in that Porsche fans do not complain about Toyota. You just made the same point I did. One does not beget the other. That “Useless tech fat” you mention becomes useful tech eventually through lessons learned.

            You do realize that cheaper cars more often than not, get new tech from more expensive cars because the luxury brands often do more R&D to drive the market price for the vehicles they sell. Volvo and Mercedes among others, develop tech for flagship cars. That tech trickles down to other brands and becomes commonplace over time. Do you think that all of the parts inside that Nintendo kit were made in-house by Nintendo? Nope. Just like your car is made up of many parts from many manufacturers.

            No one argues that cheaper cars hold anything back because that is just not a thing. I was specifically saying that Porsche does not get its queues from Toyota and vice versa. That is not an opinion, but a quantifiable fact. Porsche does not care about Toyota because that do not compete against each other. Buyers of Porsche vehicles are not deciding between a 911 and a Camry and vice versa. They both exist because there is a market for them. Same applies here.

            You also use the term “most people”, but this is not about that either. Most people won’t buy a car that costs over 100k, but plenty will, therefore they exist. See? Pretty simple. Does it diminish the existence of cheaper cars? No. They both exist because they cater to different buyers.

            You want an easy to use console for gaming? Get something made by Nintendo, Sony or MS. You want photo-realistic gaming, 3D rendering, etc., buy or build a gaming rig. One costs hundreds, the other, thousands. You cannot compare them directly beyond one being dedicated to gaming and the second doing more than just gaming. They both do that thing, just like both cars can be driven. How you drive them and where you drive them is all the difference in the world. I could go on, but if this does not sink in, there is no point trying to explain further. This is pretty basic stuff.

          • jbob4mall

            Nothing what you said explains why people should keep whining about Facebook and how weak the quest 2 hardware is compared to pc. None of that justifies pc gamers arguing that quest 2 is holding vr back when it clearly is doing the opposite.

            It exist. It’s successful. Don’t like it? Buy something else. Facebook buying exclusive games and buying developers? Tough shit. You got plenty of exclusives already. Don’t like Facebook gaining a monopoly on vr games? Criticise the other companies who don’t want to compete or are incompetent.

          • Chojin

            Yeah, I think were done here. You seem to be all over the map. I was not addressing whiners, or Facebook, or consumer mentality. I was addressing your specific comments.

            Good luck and Godspeed my friend.

  • Slongongulon

    If vive proton was good 6dof and quest 2 features they would sell very well

  • Raphael

    Let me guess. Another pro market headset. Meanwhile, my switch from the now ancient HTC Vive to a £299 Quest 2 is much better than I imagined.