On stage at Vive Developer Conference in Beijing, HTC today unveiled their upcoming standalone VR headset, Vive Focus. While HTC isn’t releasing a Daydream version of the headset in the West as previously announced, the company is using Vive Focus as the impetus for its own mobile VR platform that aims to resolve what HTC calls a “highly fragmented” mobile VR market in China, and become a common platform and storefront across disparate hardware vendors.

Vive Wave essentially does for mobile VR what Valve’s OpenVR does for desktop; it allows a large range of third-party devices onto what HTC describes as an “open” platform and serves up Viveport VR content all under one roof. It’s a pretty bold step by the company to do for China what Google is trying to do for the West with Daydream, and it seems the scale is much larger in scope given the number of partners already on board and the types of headsets capable of entry.

HTC has already signed up twelve hardware partners in China that will support Vive Wave and integrate Viveport content into their future products, including 360QIKU, Baofengmojing, Coocaa, EmdoorVR, Idealens, iQIYI, Juhaokan, Nubia, Pico, Pimax, Quanta and Thundercomm.

Image courtesy HTC

Vive Wave is said to be an open platform and toolset that will make mobile VR content development easy and also allow high-performance device optimization for third-party partners. HTC says the Vive Wave VR SDK offers an open interface enabling interoperability between numerous mobile VR headsets and accessories. These accessories could include Leap Motion, VR input gloves, 6DoF controllers and even eye-tracking solutions if manufacturers are so willing, Engadget reports.

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According to the report, China-based developers were told they can port their HTC Vive content to Vive Wave with the choice of either adopting 3DoF controller input or by supporting 6DoF input with “additional accessories.” HTC Vive’s Associate Vice President Raymond Pao said that existing Daydream and Samsung Gear VR content could even take less than a week to port to Vive Wave, a process that the company says will be easier for developers using Unity thanks to the new one-click process to publish to Viveport.

The basic list of compatible mobile headset types is fairly wide, encompassing smartphones that slot-in to a separate headset, smartphones tethered to the headset via cable with single or dual panels, or a standalone headset with single or dual panels. The company boasts support for multiple CPU architectures, although it’s admittedly optimized for Qualcomm Snapdragon. The stipulation for entry is Android 7.1 and higher.

Hardware manufacturers haven’t been so cavalier in the West with mobile VR headsets, so an ‘OpenVR for mobile’ isn’t as plainly necessary here as it is in China. While Western crowds won’t likely ever see Vive Wave, it’s certainly an interesting experiment to follow along with.

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  • Raphael

    Any system developed solely for china is doomed also it damages HTC’s image globally where VR is concerned… HTC make VR stuff for the chinese market and their little side project is HTC Vive……

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Now you just sound like a crybaby.. The Chinese/Asian market is way WAY larger than the US and EU combined..

      • Raphael

        I’m crybabying.

      • nipple_pinchy

        There’s over 1 bil Chinese but most of them are dirt poor. I imagine that even if the US is 1/3rd the population, the actual marketable consumer base here is larger. But HTC will be HTC. After all, they’re massively successful everywhere el–oh wait, they’re not. *shrug*

        They’re not bringing Focus to the US/EU because the Oculus Go will be $199 and the Focus would be DOA at a price point over $300, which is what it’s expected to be.

        • DiGiCT Ltd

          I agree

        • Felix Boe

          Trapped in US american hegemonial thinking…

          • nipple_pinchy

            America didn’t become a superpower by adopting the loser thinking of leftist third worlders.

      • DiGiCT Ltd

        You are wrong about that, China vr market for end users is nearly not existing
        Besides that for most it’s even way to expensive.
        Also most people and companies still run on pirated software.
        I can say this move from HTC is risky but could be good if all goes well.
        But I think it is more likely going to fail.
        The main reason as opportunity is actually google and Facebook being blocked, which results in no daydream or occulus in China mainland, at least not legally.

      • DiGiCT Ltd

        Do your homework, then talk.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          I did my homework, and the asian market is much larger than US and EU combined.. Yes even with a lot of poor people, still the group that can afford it is very large.

  • 144Hz

    It’s not coming here so who cares..

    • nipple_pinchy

      Exactly.

  • daveinpublic

    Between Windows Store, SteamVR, Oculus Home, Daydream Store, and Oculus mobile store, there’s plenty of stores to support. Now there’s a China only store, and HTC Vive is a Steam headset in US. Hard to see Vive ‘Wave’ sticking around in the end when there will be so much content available on other stores, and this ‘open’ and small platform looks like it will get fragmented.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      they also have the viveport where you can buy apps/games, and that’s why they started their own vr-platform now, yep, only to sell through their store…