Chia-lin Chang, HTC President of Global Sales announced a new mobile virtual reality headset will hit the market by the end of the year during the HTC U series launch event in Singapore. The latest announcement most clearly underlines HTC’s transition into a VR-oriented company, especially as its core smartphone business continues to struggle.
The upcoming HTC mobile virtual reality headset will combine mobility with the VR experience and has been designed to be paired with the company’s upcoming flagship smartphone, the U Ultra, said Chang. HTC drew a lot of attention with the Vive headset. However, in order to deliver the best possible experience, it needs to be paired with a powerful and equally expensive high-end PC. Among the best features of the HTC Vive is the Lighthouse tracking system, which allows the users to plunge themselves into room-scale virtual reality.
In spite of the outstanding performances, however, the HTC Vive sales were overtaken by Samsung with its Gear VR in 2016. Hence, last year HTC managed to sell only 400,000 units of its virtual reality headsets, while approximately 4,5 million users went for the Gear VR. The main reason for this discrepancy: Samsung’s unit sold for less.
Both the newly released Daydream View of Google and Samsung’s Gear VR work by pairing a compatible smartphone with the headset to launch the virtual reality experience. However, Chia-lin Chang says HTC’s upcoming mobile virtual reality headset will be more complex than a phone slapped onto a headset.
At the moment, not much is known about HTC’s headset in the works. However, it will most likely take up the place between high-end systems like the Vive and smartphone-powered headsets like the Gear VR.
With the latest announcements and poor figures in smartphone sales for 2016, HTC might just be admitting to transitioning into a VR company and renouncing its struggling smartphone business. The company disclosed its financial results for 2016. As it turns out, HTC registered a 14 percent revenue decrease, which translates to approximately $722 million as of last year.
Rumors have started to emerge, describing the mobile virtual reality headset as independent from a smartphone, with its own CPU, while retaining compatibility with smartphones for additional functions like operating as a controller.
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