Content creators working on virtual reality can apply to receive free HTC headgear from Valve. Seeding will begin this spring, the Steam steward says, and units will ship every couple weeks right through the summer. Valve wants to "support as many VR content creators as possible" ahead of the hardware's commercial release, which is slated for later this year.
The HTC Vive Developer Edition is based on the SteamVR tech revealed in March. It serves up 1080x1200 displays for each eye, both refreshing at 90Hz. You also get a controller for each hand, plus dual base stations that track movement within a 15' x 15' region.
Unlike the Oculus Rift, which is meant for seated subjects, the Vive follows the user around the room. Valve claims the combination of laser, gyro, and acceleration sensors tracks head rotation in precise 0.1° increments. There's no mention of positional precision, but the Sixense tech on which the controllers are based was capable of millimeter accuracy way back in 2011.
Valve doesn't plan to sell the Developer Edition, so you'll need to come up with a compelling pitch for the application. Good luck.