HTC has been busy. At CES 2019 last month, the company announced two new additions to the Vive line — the consumer-focused Cosmos and Vive Eye Pro aimed at businesses. However, it appears the company has even more VR goodies for us in the form of the just announced Vive Focus Plus.
Although HTC has yet to announce a price for the Vive Focus Plus, the headset is set to debut sometime in the second quarter of this year.
So what makes the Focus Plus so special? It’s a standalone headset that HTC says will deliver premium VR experiences. If that sales pitch sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same thing that OculusVR has been saying about the Oculus Quest, which is also set to launch in the second quarter. It makes me feel like I’m back in 2016, excitedly awaiting the era of VR to begin (I’m still kinda waiting).
The biggest difference between the rival headsets is that Oculus will be going after mainstream users while HTC is positioning the Focus Plus as an enterprise tool.
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The Focus Plus is a step up from another Vive headset that released in China last year, with an eventual rollout to the U.S. The original Focus ($599) was also a standalone headset that was powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 mobile chip and featured a single controller and offer integrated head-tracking with a super high-res 2880 x 1600 resolution.
The Focus Plus looks to improve upon its predecessor with two new ultrasonic 6DoF (6 degrees of freedom) controllers. The new controllers will feature an analog trigger allowing user to better interact with objects in virtual space.
Outside of the snazzy new controllers, HTC is playing it close to the vest about other pertinent details such as the processor and GPU. We do know that the headset will work on 5G and the display will be 3K (2880 x 1620), which is slightly better than its predecessor. We also know the company is promising a more comfortable fit.
Because HTC is going after enterprise users, the headset will be powered by the Vive Wave Platform, HTC's open interface that plays nice with Viveport, HTC’s VR subscription service. The Focus Plus will ship with management tools to allow consumers to manage several headsets simultaneously. Other professional features will include Kiosk Mode and Gaze Support.
HTC will be showing off its latest headset during the next week's Mobile World Congress. Stay tuned for our initial impressions.