HTC launches business-focused VR headsets
HTC has expanded its lineup of business-focused VR headsets with two new devices: the PC-driven Vive Pro 2 and the Android-based all-in-one Vive Focus 3.
Unveiled at the company’s virtual Vivecon 21 event, the new headsets boast both an expanded 120-degree field of view and a combined resolution of 5K across both eyes.
The new headsets are aimed at a variety of enterprise use-cases, including virtual training, design and prototyping tasks, and remote collaboration. The latter is supported by the company’s Vive Sync platform, which enables remote meetings in a virtual environment as part of the Vive XR Suite of business applications.
HTC is also launching a new storefront for business VR apps, as well as a training platform for supporting VR-based classroom training.
HTC’s partners have welcomed the announcement, with representatives from Dassault Systèmes, Autodesk, Adobe, and other professional 3D creation tools praising the high visual fidelity offered by the new headsets.
“With HTC’s new generation of high-resolution VR headsets, the level of photorealism is boosted to a completely new level which will greatly help to make the right decisions during project reviews,” said Christian Lang, CEO of architectural software firm Enscape.
The Focus 3 is designed for portability, and uses a magnesium alloy chassis for reduced weight and increased durability. Its weight has also been better distributed to aid comfort, which includes the addition of a battery pack to the rear of the headset. In addition to providing a counterweight, this swappable battery pack includes quick-charge capabilities to enable all-day use without having to charge the headset every time the battery runs out.
This feature – as well as the new swappable gaskets inside the visor – comes in response to the emergence of new customer use-cases, like demonstrations, where multiple people need to use a headset over the course of a day. New rechargeable controllers have been launched alongside the Focus 3, which promise a 15-hour battery life on a single charge.
The Focus 3 also includes contact-free directional speakers, which allow users to hear audio from their virtual environment without blocking out what’s going on around them in the real world. This features additional outward noise cancelling, as well as an ‘audio privacy mode’ to further limit what can be heard outside of the headset.
It’s built on top of a customised version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR2 platform, which has been augmented with fan-driven cooling and heatsinks in order to maintain maximum performance for demanding VR applications. The Focus 3 supports a maximum refresh rate of 90Hz and can stream footage to PC through a USB-C cable, with wireless streaming supposedly coming soon.
For higher performance needs, HTC is offering the Vive Pro 2, which includes a 120Hz max refresh rate, dual stacked-lens optics for reduced motion blur, and redesigned headphones with 3D positional audio. The company has also collaborated with both AMD and Nvidia to optimise the Display Stream Compression technology used to power the device, which is backwards-compatible with DisplayPort 1.2.
Both devices include a number of business-focused features; the Vive Pro 2 will be compatible with all existing Steam VR peripherals, including base stations, movement trackers, and controllers, while the Focus 3 is compatible with Android Enterprise MDM products, meaning it can be managed by IT departments through existing tools like MobileIron or SOTI.
For customers that don’t already have an MDM solution in place, HTC also offers a pre-built ISO-certified suite for remotely managing and updating Focus 3 devices on a network.
The Vive Focus 3 will go on sale on 24 June for £1,060 exc VAT, including a two-year warranty and services package.
The Vive Pro 2, meanwhile, is available to pre-order today in a headset-only package for those that want to upgrade an existing installation. This version can be preordered for £659 inc VAT (with a cost of £719 if bought after the pre-order period), while the full kit with base stations and controllers – which will hit shelves 4 August – will cost £1,299 inc VAT.
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