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HTC and Valve announce the 'Vive Pre' development kit

by Mark Tyson on 6 January 2016, 13:31

Tags: HTC (TPE:2498), Valve

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qacxky

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HTC and Valve have used the CES 2016 platform to introduce and show off the second generation HTC Vive and associated development kit, the 'Vive Pre'. This refined version of the VR (virtual reality) offering includes refined ergonomic hardware plus a front mounted camera allowing for AR (augmented reality) experiences to be implemented.

So what are the key enhancements on offer with the new headset? Brandon Chester from AnandTech had time to try out the headset and was told that it had been "redesigned from the ground up to be more compact and fit more comfortably onto your head while also being more stable". Those kinds of ergonomics are important for prolonged use of the wearable headset. Inside, the twin displays are said to offer brighter imagery and the lens system has been tweaked to provide greater clarity.

An important additional feature in the Vive Pre comes from the addition of a front mounted camera feed, so you can see the room 'through' the headset. This implementation opens up the possibility of AR experiences using the Vive Pre.

Controllers have also been tweaked; textured buttons provide more positive tactile feedback and the triggers are now dual stage for multiple holding states. Haptic feedback is provided to your touchy feely actions via the controllers. In use the reporter happily says that head tracking latency was very low and the experience of immersion was compelling.

To get developers up and running with the Vive Pre seven thousand development kits will be sent out to game makers and other creatives later this month. We don't have a firm price or launch date for a consumer edition of the Vive but it is expected to turn up in April with the enhancements present in this Vive Pre dev kit.

In related news, HP has announced it will build Envy Phoenix gaming PCs specially tuned for users to enjoy virtual reality via HTC and Valve's Vive experience. The computers feature a choice of Intel i7 K-series processor and choice between AMD Radeon R9 390X or the NVIDIA GTX 980 Ti for graphical grunt. HP's specially tailored VR PCs will become available from 16th January, priced from $1,700 upwards.



HEXUS Forums :: 3 Comments

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What, such as that “groundbreaking new technology”… ie a smartphone camera lens in the front? :) :p

I wouldn't market that as groundbreaking new technology, really.
A flippin' good idea, sure and definitely as something the Oculus Rift has rather *stupidly* forgotten, making this the better choice… but since I already have this exact thing on my very old HTC phone, it's not new tech, guys!!

I say ‘stupidly’, as no-one at Oculus seems to have realised their customers will be falling over the furniture… and the Augmented Reality options are just a lovely big added bonus to ice the cake!!


Really liking how good both devices are starting to sound, now!!
Ttaskmaster
What, such as that “groundbreaking new technology”… ie a smartphone camera lens in the front? :) :p

I wouldn't market that as groundbreaking new technology, really.
A flippin' good idea, sure and definitely as something the Oculus Rift has rather *stupidly* forgotten, making this the better choice… but since I already have this exact thing on my very old HTC phone, it's not new tech, guys!!

I say ‘stupidly’, as no-one at Oculus seems to have realised their customers will be falling over the furniture… and the Augmented Reality options are just a lovely big added bonus to ice the cake!!


Really liking how good both devices are starting to sound, now!!

Oculus haven't forgot about it. In fact they bought out a third party company that developed an attachable front facing camera that could track raw input from your hands a few months ago. If that all wasn't just for experimental purposes I think they'd end up releasing it as a separate attachment or integrating it into CV2.

As for Vive I don't think they should've held back for this. It's not exactly necessary as the first iteration of VR should be about getting the technology and interest out there at a relatively affordable price then add all the bells and whistles later
Solcarius
It's not exactly necessary as the first iteration of VR should be about getting the technology and interest out there at a relatively affordable price then add all the bells and whistles later
On the one hand - Someone has to be first and if they don't deliver, it can kill off a lot of interest in future releases.
On the other - Whoever is first will have to suffer all the teething issues, while the followers put out a better product that benefits from how the competition fares.