HTC will start selling its standalone Vive Focus virtual reality headset worldwide today after a first launch in China earlier this year. The headset, which costs $ 599 in the US, is aimed at corporate customers in 37 countries. It is part of a major attempt to make HTC VR headsets appealing companies, including a recently announced collaboration program called Vive Sync, which enables staff at different offices to meet and work together in VR.
Vive Focus is an independent mobile headset that tracks a user's movement with outgoing cameras – similar to the upcoming $ 399 Oculus Quest headset. HTC announced it after the cancellation of a similar headset based on Google's Daydream VR platform, and it was initially unclear whether Vive Focus would start outside of China. However, HTC confirmed an international release this spring, making a development kit available to US buyers.
We were impressed with Vive Focus's tracking quality, and since its inception, HTC has developed fully trained motion controllers to complement the original remote control pointing device. But do not expect a direct Oculus Quest competitor. HTC is not pitching this as a consumer device – it is more likely to show up in training simulators, industrial design facilities or arcades. Buyers can add one of two "Advantage" premium service and repair packages, which costs up to $ 749 or $ 799.
Vive Focus will coincide with HTC's older $ 499 Vive and $ 799 Vive Pro headset that is tied to a computer. HTC touts Vive Focus as headset for "companies who want a truly mobile VR experience." Unlike the original Vive, it does not require any external sensor boxes, and it has the same advanced 2880 x 1600 resolution as Vive Pro; It is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 mobile chipset and has a battery life of up to three hours.
HTC featured another forthcoming all-in-one headset by Chinese company Shadow Creator, who uses HTC's Vive Wave mobile VR platform to launch a headset called Shadow VR. It launches worldwide on November 11th and has a similar feature set to Vive Focus, albeit with a slightly lower resolution screen.
HTC has put its view on business customers for a while now, but it emphasizes that goal more than ever with Vive Focus. It contrasts with Oculus and Sony, who portrayed their VR headset as mass market entertainment devices – although Oculus also supplies headsets for companies like Walmart for training and other applications. HTC probably makes it safer move here, as companies have consistently used VR systems for decades, while recently a niche has been cut in the consumer market. But for anyone who wants to buy a HTC-built VR headset for personal games or VR movies, it's a bit disappointed.