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HTC partners with Valve to produce the Vive VR headset

by Mark Tyson on 1 March 2015, 21:00

Tags: HTC (TPE:2498), Valve

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qacpj6

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HTC, as promised, held its 'Utopia in progress' pre-MWC event in Barcelona earlier today. The Taiwanese mobile-centric firm didn't offer many surprises with its new HTC One M9 model. However the HTC Vive VR headset, built for Valve to work with Steam Machines, managed to take us by surprise.

HTC One M9

As mentioned in the intro, the new HTC One M9 flagship held little surprise for us as the leaked images, specs and even videos last week provided nearly as much info as the official release and presentation. The new HTC One is definitely more of an evolutionary change, as HTC seemingly doesn't want to ride the One's winning design off the rails.

Hardware spec features of the new smartphone which HTC are pushing include the 20MP main camera and an Ultrapixel selfie camera. HTC BoomSound has been combined with Dolby tech to produce a 5.1 surround sound effects via both its speakers and headphones, the phone also supports 24-bit audio.

On the software side there are location context sensitive widgets and a homescreen, themes for more elegant phone customisation, One Gallery for photo organisation, HTC Eye for photo capture flexibility and further BlinkFeed refinements.

Turning to its construction, the new HTC One M9 boasts a dual-tone metal unibody (Gold on Gold, Gold on Silver or Gunmetal Grey) offering nicely curved ergonomics. HTC says that its polished the edges to a mirrored finish – hopefully that's a durable finish too. The main camera lens is covered by sapphire glass to help keep it scratch and abrasion free.

HTC One M9, key specs

  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, octa core 64-bit, 4 x 2.0GHz + 4 x 1.5GHz
  • Memory: 3GB RAM, 32GB storage + microSD
  • Screen: 5.0 inch, Full HD 1080p
  • Camera: 20MP main auto-focus, BSI sensor, f/2.2, 27.8mm lens, 4K video recording. HTC UltraPixel selfie camera, BSI sensor, f/2.0, 26.8mm lens, 1080p video recording.
  • Connectivity: 2G/3G/4G via nanoSIM, NFC, Wi-Fi, DLNA, HDMI MHL. GPS
  • Battery: 2,840mAh
  • Physical: 144.6 x 69.7 x 9.61 mm, 157g, metal unibody

HTC Vive VR Headset

Less than a week ago we first heard about Valve working on SteamVR and about a reveal happening in the coming week at the GDC. However we didn't have to wait for GDC to get our first sight of the VR headset hardware involved as HTC has shown it off today. It's called the HTC Vive, it will be released to developers in Spring and launched to the masses before the year is out, in time for 'Holiday 2015'.

Here is how HTC describes its new headset:

FINALLY, THE FUTURE
Imagine standing on the bridge of a starship rocketing across the galaxy, or strolling through the streets of ancient Rome, or shrinking down to subatomic size and watching molecules collide. Now Re-imagine.
HTC's Vive headset, powered by SteamVR, pulls those virtual worlds off your computer screen and into your home. You’ll experience sights and sounds vivid and lifelike enough to transport you to another place, another time—whole new realities with limitless possibilities.

Key hardware inside the headset includes; a 1,200 by 1,080 pixel screen in front of each eye sporting 90fps refresh rates, a gyrosensor, accelerometer, and laser position sensor. The headset works with a pair of Steam VR base stations to track your physical location (in spaces up to 15 feet by 15 feet) allowing you to walk around the VR world. The headset works with twin ergonomic controllers, one in each hand.

Hopefully we will hear more about the HTC Vive, it's full hardware specs, how it works with Steam Machines and the controller accessories later in the week at GDC.

Embedded below is HTC's full pre-MWC presentation



HEXUS Forums :: 9 Comments

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Considering most of us are going to be… pretty happy with a standard “sat down” VR experience, steam being first to market with something decent may rock the boat over at Oculus/Facebook a little.

Depends on the final specs but it looks like they've got hardware on it to do a fair amount of tracking so it may well be pretty decent.
Is the headset not called the HTC ‘ReVive’ ? as the end of the trailer (circa 56 sec's in) suggests so.
I would just be happy for a decent head mounted display without all the tracking, all the bells and whistles just adds complexity to the game developers. I would love to see this in a racing game, or something like Skyrim though… It is great technology regardless.

But I do wonder if this will be like the Steambox / Steam Controller and stay permantly in “development”?
Chadders87
I would just be happy for a decent head mounted display without all the tracking, all the bells and whistles just adds complexity to the game developers. I would love to see this in a racing game, or something like Skyrim though… It is great technology regardless.

But I do wonder if this will be like the Steambox / Steam Controller and stay permantly in “development”?

They said there will be a consumer version before the end of the year. And you need all the tracking and stuff or the feeling of immersion gets broken, defeating the point in VR. Without tracking it would just be like having a small 3DTV strapped to your face.
Interesting although not sure why HTC have felt the need to jump into the VR arena (well, other than Samsung have…)

As I have said time and time again, all these VR solution will never take off until we have an open standard for them and they all follow it.