Vive Focus, HTC’s first standalone VR headset, has officially launched in China. Based on HTC’s new mobile VR platform, which includes a mobile version of the Viveport content store, the headset debuts with more than 40 apps.

The Vive Focus is HTC’s first standalone VR headset; it has everything on board for VR—including inside-out positional tracking—which means it doesn’t rely on a smartphone or host computer. That makes it more convenient and brings with it a host of other advantages over the usual smartphone docking mobile headsets.

image courtesy HTC

After taking pre-orders starting in December, the Vive Focus launched to the first customers in China this week. HTC held an event where they gave a live demo of the headset to 100 attendees.

Image courtesy Alvin Wang Graylin, HTC

The headset is priced roughly $670 and $625 for the blue and white versions of the headset, respectively. As with the Lenovo Mirage Solo standalone, we wonder how attractive the substantial price point will be to consumers, though it’s quite possible that the target audience and market dynamics at play in China are different enough that we can’t apply the same set of assumptions as in Western markets.

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The Vive Focus is based on Google’s Daydream standalone reference design (which was itself based on Qualcomm reference hardware), and was announced in 2017 to be one of two Daydream standalone headsets headed for Western markets (the other being Lenovo’s). HTC later scrapped plans to launch the headset in West, and has instead focused on bringing the headset to China, leaving Google’s Daydream platform behind. Instead of Daydream and Google’s WorldSense tracking, the software powering the Vive Focus is called Vive Wave (with content through the company’s mobile Viveport store), and HTC says they’re using their own inside-out tracking code called World Scale.

HTC aims to consolidate China’s mobile VR ecosystem by making Vive Wave an open platform that can be used as the foundation for other mobile headsets beyond the Focus. The Vive Focus launches with some 40 apps in the mobile Viveport store (which will be available on other headsets running Vive Wave).

Image courtesy Alvin Wang Graylin, HTC

Though Vive Focus is first out of the gate, Oculus and Chinese electronics company Xiaomi have teamed up to challenge HTC’s mobile VR land grab by soon bringing the Oculus Go headset to China under Xiaomi’s brand. The headset will be dubbed the Mi VR, and will run its own separate content store (not based on Vive Wave).

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  • Jean-Sebastien Perron

    Yet, no love for us. It must be because of Trump.

    • gothicvillas

      Why Trump?

    • dk

      Trump loves Lenovo

  • Ian Shook

    It looks really comfortable. Maybe a little front heavy? but still. I’d throw that on in a second.

  • NooYawker

    It seems like it expensive, but I’d buy something like this that I can put on while I’m in the living room and play a game or two.

  • David Herrington

    I just wish 1 of those 100 testers would give a full review on the experience. I don’t think I’ll be interested in buying one for myself as I’m still invested in PC VR, but I do believe that mobile VR is the future (when graphics tech is capable of it).

    • Clan Virtu

      We shipped one over from China to do just that, checkout our review above!

  • daveinpublic

    I wish they would give more explanation to US users why they dropped support. Seems like a bad PR move by HTC with no explanation to follow. Is this a sign that they’re willing to back out of a deal when it’s convenient? If so, should I feel comfortable buying from them in the future?

    • Tommy

      Just think of it this way. VR gadgets made for China and Western counterparts are separate as the people here and there like way too different types of content.
      Just because HTC supports the Chinese market doesn’t mean they have forgotten the rest of the world. That will come eventually, if HTC deems it important enough.

    • dk

      maybe google wanted them to sell it for 400 like the lenovo ….and they were like fuck that we want out margins ….plus 2 headsets mobile hardware costing 400….standalones need to get established to have a bunch of options on the market

  • WyrdestGeek

    Is it 3dof or 6dof? I forget.

    • chuan_l

      From what they announced —
      It’s supposed to have 6DOF inside out.

    • dk

      the cameras r doing the 6dof

  • Tommy

    I think this is the right move by HTC. By now it should be pretty clear that in terms of VR and Gaming, the Chinese market is completely different from Western counterparts. Don’t expect us to play stuff on Google’s Daydream platform. Those games are boring.

  • oompah

    Thumbs up HTC
    Rise asia rise
    Innovate & launch ur products in East
    dump the west
    & see $ euro pound fall soon
    the weapons of world dominion

  • In China, VR is more business oriented, so it can have sense. We’ll see the numbers in the next months…

  • Clan Virtu

    It’s a great bit of hardware, but as you’d expect, currently lacking in content besides 360 videos on VeeVR. Checkout our full review here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaa8aPi8qNY