It's becoming clearer that the entire tech world is trying to get in on virtual reality on the ground floor. In addition to announcing its latest flagship smartphone, HTC today unveiled a new VR headset, in a partnership with Valve.
The HTC Vive (called "HTC Re Vive" in marketing images, suggesting a last-minute name change) is the fruit of HTC's collaboration with Valve. The developer version of the headset has some high-end specs and, unlike Samsung's take on VR, doesn't require an inserted phone.
The headset has 1,200 x 1,080 resolution in each eye, making it nearly as sharp as the Quad HD display in the Samsung Gear VR and the (unconfirmed) Quad HD display that's likely inside the latest Oculus Rift prototype. It's also capable of 90 fps refresh rate, which also lines up well with top-of-the-line VR headsets.
One of the more interesting aspects of the HTC Vive is that it includes multiple sensors (gyrosensor, accelerometer, and laser position sensor) to track not just your head, but also your physical location in a room (up to 15 ft. x 15 ft). When used with a pair of Steam VR base stations, it lets you walk around your virtual environment (just be careful you're in an open space with no obstructions!).
There isn't a ton of other info at this point, but HTC will also be offering a pair of motion-controlled wireless game controllers (perhaps not unlike Wii controllers) to track your hands and handheld virtual objects.
No word yet on pricing, but a developer edition of the headset will be available this (Northern hemisphere) Spring, with HTC promising a consumer version by the end of 2015. At the rate the tech industry is going, it may have hundreds of competitors by then.
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