Taiwanese company HTC is first and foremost known for its smartphones. The group has released some of the most popular handsets of the past decade, but in recent years has found itself struggling against major competitors such as Apple, Samsung and others. Virtual reality (VR) fans will of course know that the company is behind one of the most exciting upcoming head-mounted displays (HMDs) in the HTC Vive. You might think of this has a side project to HTC’s main business but, according to its CEO, VR is actually ‘more important’ than smartphones.
Company leader Cher Wang said as much when talking to The Telegraph at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada. When discussing the struggles HTC has faced in the smartphone business over the past few years she said: “Now we are more realistic. We feel that we should apply our best design to different type of sectors. Yes, smartphones are important, but to create a natural extension to other connected devices like wearables and virtual reality is more important.” Wang suggested the company ‘has a vision’ for handsets going forward, but VR may well play a bigger role.
Last week saw HTC reveal a new development kit for the HTC Vive in the Vive Pre. The improved tech features a front-mounted camera that allows for an improved chaperone system in which users can more easily check the environment around them without having to take the HMD off. Combined with the system’s Room Scale user-tracking, in which players can walk around an area of up to 15-feet by 15-feet, this allows them to more confidently navigate around an environment. The new kit is also smaller and more comfortable to use.
Pre-orders for the HTC Vive will open next month before the device goes on sale in April 2016. Check back with VRFocus for the latest updates on the device.