The HTC Vive is largely considered to be the king of premium virtual reality headsets, and its technology may soon be coming to a smaller screen. According to a leaked promotional video, HTC could be working on a Vive-branded smartphone, possibly to compete with mobile VR titans such as the Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream View.
The device in question can be seen in a trailer for HTC's CMF kitchen, a "collaborative, creative space for creating unlikely combinations of color, material and finish." At the very end of the clip, you can spot a sleek, bluish-silver smartphone that sports an HTC Vive logo on its rear.
Given that this is a trailer for phone customization, HTC might simply be suggesting that you'll be able to slap a Vive logo onto your handset if you want to. Still, given the success that the Vive has had in the high-end VR arena, it wouldn't be entirely surprising to see HTC go after a new group of consumers who might not be able to afford a $800 VR headset and the powerful gaming PC needed to run it.
If HTC does choose to join the mobile VR war, it'll have some serious competition from Samsung and Google. The $99 Gear VR (which is built in collaboration with Oculus), has amassed a healthy library of content in the few years it's been on shelves, while Google's $79 Daydream View is a more affordable and stylish option with a decent lineup of apps and games.
A Vive-branded smartphone would almost definitely call for a new headset — connecting the standard HTC Vive's mess of wires to a smartphone would be impossible. One of the HTC Vive's biggest selling points is its access to content of Valve's mega-popular Steam platform, so it'll be interesting to see if HTC can translate the headset's rich library into smaller, mobile-friendly experiences.
A mobile VR device could be just what HTC needs to regenerate excitement around its smartphones. While last year's HTC 10 was a much-welcomed return to form for the company, HTC reported a whopping 35 percent drop in sales throughout 2016.
The Vive phone could surface at HTC's Jan. 12 event, where we're also expecting to see the company's next flagship smartphone: the HTC Ocean.