Published: Sun, July 30, 2017
Sci-tech | By Doreen King

China market: HTC to roll out standalone VR headsets

China market: HTC to roll out standalone VR headsets

The following is direct from HTC: "Vive is working with Google to deliver the best-in-class standalone VR solution to the western markets".

The head-mounted display does not require a PC or a smartphone to run and will sell under the name HTC Standalone - but only to consumers in China. This new standalone design also moves away from the slot-in design of the Samsung Gear VR and doesn't require the user to monopolize their smartphone for VR purposes.

As for price, this Vive standalone headset will be "more affordable" yet still offer a high-quality experience, according to an HTC and Qualcomm press release.

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HTC is using the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform to power the Vive Standalone VR Headset, the same chipset used in many high-end smartphones on the market today.

HTC announced the Vive Standalone at ChinaJoy 2017 earlier today and will be the first Vive headset to be completely free of any external PC or mobile device in order to use it. The thing is, a VR headset of the Vive's caliber has a whole bunch of barriers to entry. Although all-in-one VR devices would be much lower-performance in comparison, they would presumably be more affordable and thus open up VR to a broader audience. It's likely that despite many upcoming standalone VR headsets not being as powerful as current high-end VR offerings, they'll reach a much wider audience due to their cheaper price tags and standalone functionality. Maybe it's not that different to the HTC Google Daydream with WorldSense tecnology announced in May, but without the Google support to avoid legal problems in the Chinese market.

Rather than tapping into Google's Daydream platform, HTC's new standalone Vive headset for China will use the firm's Viveport store to access apps and content.

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The new headset is being made in conjunction with Qualcomm and will run on a Snapdragon 835 processor.

From the silhouetted image shared at the Chinese launch, we can see big differences in the design of the headset when compared to the first-generation HTC Vive.

The advent of standalone VR headsets might change virtual reality game play.

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Vive was unveiled in 2015 and is a joint effort by HTC and Valve corporation to bring an optimised for room-scale VR blended with true-to-life interactions.

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