Following the announcement of the HTC U12+, the new flagship smartphone handset from HTC with virtual reality (VR) integration and Vive Focus compatibility, new details on the Vive Focus System Update 2.0 have been released. This update allows for seamless integration between mobile and immersive device offering users an easier, more immersive VR experience.
The new System Update 2.0 will allow the Vive Focus users to be able to receive messages, social notifications and take calls on their HTC smartphones without needing to take the headset off. This will ensure a continuous link to the outside world all while not needing to remove yourself from the experience you are currently in. Users of the newly announced HTC U12+ will be able to take advantage of these features right away, with the upgraded Vive companion app available via the HTC official app store and the Tencent app store for all users to enable their HTC smartphones to connect with the Vive Focus and PC based Vive devices.
A new “Passenger Mode” has been introduced as part of the system updates optimization for seated VR experiences or watching movies, without tracking constraints, within say a moving vehicle. A double-click on the power button will now activate the new “Surroundings Mode” to allow for users to view the space around them without taking off the headset.
HTC are bringing a number of additional innovative features that will be coming to the HTC Focus to enable a superior user experience. Light gesture recognition for Vive Focus will allow developers the ability to bring both hands into VR applications thanks to the new SDK which will be releasing in the coming weeks. HTC have also teased the ability to upgrade the Vive Focus’ current 3 degree of freedom (3DoF) controller to behave like a 6DoF controller without the need for any additional hardware by leveraging the device’s existing front facing cameras and AI computer vision technology. The option to stream phone screen content from the HTC U12+ to the Vive Focus has also been shown off, enabling millions of existing mobile applications, videogames and video content to be enjoyed on a super-size screen.
Elsewhere, Vive announced a new partnership with Major League Baseball (MLB) which will see a number of collaborations in China, including the Baseball Park roadshow across more than 10 major cities and the “Perfect Pitch” reality TV show on the Tencent video network. “We are proud of this exciting new partnership with HTC that will bring virtual reality technology to two important MLB fan engagement initiatives in China,” said Jim Small, MLB Vice President, Asia Pacific. “This cooperation provides MLB with important support to grow the game in China and it delivers an exciting new way for fans to enjoy MLB action.”
A long-term strategic partnership with Formula One (F1) team McLaren was also revealed, which will lead to the production of VR products and VR/Augmented reality (AR) content targeted at bringing a new level of spectatorship and participation to the 500 million plus F1 fan base. The two companies will work together on the world’s first VR eSports competition linked to a real professional sport as well. HTC will be the official VR partner of McLaren’s eSports competition, where the team will search the world for people who will ultimately join the McLaren racing team.
Zak Brown, Chief Executive of McLaren Racing, commented: “This is a tremendously exciting partnership for McLaren and HTC. Innovation sits at the heart of both our brands and our collaboration will enable F1 fans of today and tomorrow around the world to become more immersed and engaged in this incredible sport. As McLaren continues to develop its eSports program, HTC will help us build on and accelerate our early adoption of this platform.”
Finally, a partnership with Seagate was announced to bring the world’;s first accessory device to provide extra battery life and massive media storage design for VR devices. This will come in the form of the Seagate ‘VR Power Drive’ which has been optimized to plug and play with the Vive Focus, allowing users to bring thousands of hours of video or music content with them all while nearly doubling the battery life of the Vive Focus. It will also work with the HTC U12+ and includes an easy to use backup tool to ensure users can ensure their data is safe and secure.
“We have been working together and committed to jointly developing solutions for VR devices since our partnership established. Today, we are delighted that we have devised the Seagate VR Power Drive, which is tailored to the Vive Focus, by applying Seagate’s unique storage expertise to meet Vive Focus users’ increasing needs for data.” said Jim Murphy, executive vice president, worldwide sales & marketing, Seagate Technology. “In the years to come, we will continue to cooperate with HTC, and further optimize storage solutions according to the characteristics of VR applications to better meet the special data needs of the Vive products and bring Vive users the optimal experience at home or on the road.”
With HTC revealing their new flagship HTC U12+ smartphone and detailed a number of new features and partnerships for the Vive Focus, it has been a busy time for the company. The new Vive Focus system update 2.0 which includes a number of the above features is available to download today, with further updates expected to release in Q3 2018. The new developer SDK’s will be available to download on the Vive Developer website for all registered Viveport developers shortly and for more on HTC in the future, keep reading VRFocus.