Watch out, Meta — it seems that a new rival is coming back to the virtual reality (VR) arena, and it aims to compete with the Meta Quest Pro. According to new information, HTC is getting ready to expand its VR headset catalog with a brand-new addition. Unfortunately, there's one downside — this headset may not be cheap.
Most times, when new gadgets or PC hardware leak out, all we have to go on are cryptic tweets and messages from anonymous tipsters. This time around, the information comes straight from the source — namely the global head of product at HTC, Shen Ye.
Deciding to shed some light on the new device, Ye talked about its capabilities and the way it was built. The yet-unnamed headset seems lightweight and resembles goggles in its design. We may have already seen a little glimpse of it in the past, but Ye hasn't confirmed if the headset seen in this tweet is the same one that the company is currently getting ready to release.
HTC's Shen Ye spoke to The Verge about the gadget, revealing more than we've ever heard of it before. According to the HTC exec, the company is making some great strides with this headset, all with the aim of creating a small all-in-one kind of device that provides access to VR, mixed reality (MR), augmented reality (AR).
Ye says that the new release will serve a wide purpose, ranging from gaming, general entertainment, and exercise, to something more advanced like productivity tools. This is where the AR and MR segments come in, and perhaps the headset could prove to be useful in metaverse-like environments.
The headset comes equipped with front and side-facing cameras. The cameras that face outward provide the user with a color video feed, enabling MR experiences in games or even in virtual meetings. HTC itself is not yet certain what the MR function can be used for. Ye implied that some of it will appear after the release of the gadget, when developers have had the chance to work on supporting the headset. Support controllers will be bundled with the VR goggles, and those controllers track hand movements and offer six degrees of freedom.
The Verge draws comparisons between the HTC and the Meta Quest Pro, and Ye notes that HTC will be adding a depth sensor which didn't make it into the Meta VR device. Ye also expects that the headset might be an upgrade in terms of its mixed reality options, allowing for things like reading from a laptop or a phone while wearing it.
The Verge speculates that this new device might not be cheap, though, and Ye does nothing to dispel that notion. HTC seems eager to ramp up some privacy settings on the device compared to its competition, but as a trade off, it won't keep the price too low. "We're in an era when consumer VR headsets have been massively subsidized by companies that are trying to vacuum up and take personal data to provide to advertisers. We don't believe the way that we want to approach it is to compromise on privacy."
The Meta Quest Pro launched with a $399 price tag, while HTC's own Vive Flow was priced at $499. We may find out more from HTC during the upcoming CES 2023.
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