HTC’s 2-day Vivecon event is kicking off right now, and the company’s come out swinging with two new hardware products.
PC VR takes a step forward with Vive Pro 2 offering some major updates over the company’s existing Pro VR headset, while HTC is courting business and enterprise with the standalone Vive Focus 3.
There’s a fair bit of tech shared between the headsets. Both feature 5K display tech with a dedicated 5K display for each eye with real RGB subpixels to address the “screen door” effect and an expansive 120° field of view.
A 5K display for each eye allows fine detail like signs and labels to become more usable in VR space – you shouldn’t have to move your head closer to an object to read the label on a switch, for example, which you wouldn’t have to do in “real life”, so you won’t have to do it in VR either.
The wider field of view will also help make VR space feel more natural, as you’ll be able to see things without having to turn your head just a little more.
Vive Pro 2 features a 120 Hz refresh rate for low latency visuals in gaming and VR experiences, while Vive Focus 3 runs at 90 Hz.
Vive Pro 2
With dual 5K displays, standard Display Port connections can face bandwidth limitations when delivering visuals to the headset, so HTC is partnering up with Nvidia to utilise Display Stream Compression to allow high fidelity visual quality over DisplayPort connections, even on DisplayPort 1.2.
Vive Pro 2 remains compatible with existing Vive peripherals – base stations, controllers, trackers, etc. If you’re upgrading you can bring all these items with you.
Those looking to upgrade to Vive Pro 2 will be able to purchase the headset on its own for $1,299. The full kit (headset, base stations and controllers) will be available in August at $2,199.
Focus on Business with Vive Focus 3
The major Vive Pro update is all well and good, but we’re pretty interested in the latest generation of the company’s standalone VR headset, Focus 3.
Vive’s standalone Focus headsets have been around for a while, with a corporate and enterprise… well, focus… but Focus 3 will be the first time we’re seeing the headset officially release into the Australian market.
As a standalone headset, Focus 3 has processing power onboard in the form of Qualcomm’s dedicated VR processor, Snapdragon XR. There’s no PC – input is processed on the headset and visuals are run by onboard hardware.
HTC’s put a lot of thought and effort into Focus 3 and its business audience. The headset is designed to be worn for long periods of time and features a number of clever design choices.
The chassis itself is made of magnesium alloy – it’s lighter and stronger than the plastic materials you’d usually see on a VR headset, and the pads that see contact with users can be detached easily for swapping and cleaning.
Focus 3 uses a dual lens system that allows the headset to be a little slimmer, and the battery – which is replaceable – is actually on the rear head band, allowing the headset itself to be a little more compact and light again, making it better for long wear periods.
The headset can also report its battery level to a remote device management system, allowing a corporate IT department to monitor and ensure charged batteries are available. If not, the battery can be quick-charged to 50% capacity in 30 minutes.
The corporate side of things is pretty important when deploying a potential fleet of these devices in the workplace. HTC allows management of software licences as well as hardware, and the Focus 3 headset itself can be managed with Android For Work (now Android Enterprise).
HTC’s remote collaboration and meeting tool, Vive Sync, will evolve into Pro and Enterprise versions, offering support for up to 30 people. For larger groups, Vive XR Suite is on offer.
Vive’s “launcher”, known as Reality System, is getting a 2.0 upgrade with a business focus as well. The basic environment is now less gaming-focused, with a calmer environment will neutral textures and an enterprise-friendly lobby. There’s also a Business App Store offering apps in categories such as Remote Collaboration, Therapy & Rehab, Training and more.
Vive Focus 3 will retail from June 24 for $1,999. The headset comes with a 24-month business warranty. Accessories (pads, batteries, etc) will also be available for purchase.
HTC’s Vivecon 2-day virtual event is now underway. You can catch the event live at HTC’s Vivecon site, with traditional and VR streams available.
Stories about VR systems like this, make me jealous, as they are gear I cannot ever safely use.