HTC reveals a tiny VR headset with some big tradeoffs

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HTC is expected to unveil its new standalone VR headset at an event scheduled for Thursday. Called Vive Flow, it would compete with Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2.

HTC has just formalized the Vive Flow, its new immersive and portable glasses. As expected, the brand opts for an ultracompact format and offers light glasses (189 grams). It also confirms that this virtual reality “headset” is designed for video viewing and light applications. It is particularly a question of being able to connect it to an Android smartphone to watch TV programs or content available on streaming platforms. The smartphone can also be used as a remote control.

Technically, the Vive Flow is equipped with two 2.1-inch LCD screens for a combined definition of 3.2K, or 1600 × 1600 pixels per eye. The refresh rate reaches 75 Hz and the field of view is advertised at 100 °. HTC also evokes 3D spatial sound for its foldable headset “Similar to glasses”, as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity. Note that there is no 3.5mm mini-jack, but it is possible to connect headphones via Bluetooth. We will also note the presence of microphones with echo and noise cancellation, or the presence of 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage.

HTC announces that the Vive Flow is available for pre-orders at a price of 549 euros, with availability during the month of November. The “glasses” are supplied with a matching case and a pocket charger (10,000 mAh) is available as an option to provide more autonomy. Note that the compact size of this “headset” requires the use of an external battery.

On the sidelines of this announcement, HTC Vive confirms the arrival of a new subscription formula to Viveport (5.99 euros per month) allowing access to immersive applications.

Specialist in virtual reality, HTC has planned to discuss its new projects on October 14 under the theme Go With the Flow. On this occasion, the Vive brand should unveil its new virtual reality headset and, if it remains a mystery about its intentions, several leaks have already revealed its plans. The main novelty of the manufacturer should be the Vive Flow, an autonomous virtual reality headset. At the start of the week, the site Protocol confirmed that HTC was preparing to unveil its new VR headset for the general public and our colleagues assure that the Vive Flow “Is one of the least well-kept secrets in the virtual reality industry”.

Its manufacturer has regularly mentioned its new device and its cylindrical case, as if to better praise its size. The helmet would indeed be light and autonomous, two strong arguments to impose itself on the general public. In addition to its need for power, virtual reality is regularly singled out for its size or its difficulty in detaching itself from cables. HTC seems to want to rectify the situation by opting for a design close to a simple pair of glasses or a ski goggles. This is what the images revealed by Evan Blass on his Twitter account suggest:

HTC’s choices seem relevant, as the manufacturer is reportedly looking to catch up with Facebook. With Oculus, the giant of social networks marked the spirits by launching the Oculus Quest 2. The Vive Flow, known under the code name Hue, would not however be a simple copy of the headset of Facebook. It would be less powerful and sold without controllers, but would have tracking sensors.

A helmet that wants to hit the mark

More transportable, this headset would be cut for multimedia content and games that require little resources. The first images indicate that it could be connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth. The latter could be used as a remote control. By focusing on a simple experience, HTC would decide with its latest attempts in the world of virtual reality.

Halfway between the headset and VR glasses, the Vive Flow could participate in the democratization of virtual reality.

The arrival of this helmet could be accompanied by that of the Viveport Verse. Like its competitor Facebook, the initiative would consist of offering a metaverse with the possibility of creating avatars and evolving in an open space. Users could communicate with other devices, participate in events or go virtual tourism. The project would be inspired by the functionalities offered by Vive Sync, a virtual meeting solution for professionals.

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