Here at TR, we love the HTC Vive and what it offers. The thing is, a VR headset of the Vive's caliber has a whole bunch of barriers to entry. You need a fast PC, a relatively large empty space for room-scale VR, and have to spool out several meters of cables and set up tracking lighthouses. You also have to buy the headset itself, of course, and then you'll need a Steam account to make use of the majority of the software for it. If nothing else, the up-front cost is a major barrier to entry for folks outside economies where disposable income doesn't abound. That might be the biggest reason why HTC just announced its Vive Standalone VR headset.
We actually already knew that the company was planning something along these lines. Back in May at Google I/O, Google and Qualcomm demonstrated a reference platform for stand-alone Daydream VR headsets. HTC and Lenovo both announced at that time that they'd be basing products on that platform. Lo and behold, the just-announced Vive Standalone headset is, like the Daydream reference platform, based on a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip. However, this device will use HTC's own Viveport for its content delivery rather than Google's Play store.
That's about all we know about the headset, though. Given that it's a stand-alone device, it won't require a computer, a phone, or any cumbersome wires. We don't know anything about the display or battery life, though. In any case, if you're reading this site, then chances are you won't be able to buy the hardware just yet. Right now, the Vive Standalone headset is only planned for release in China. We expect that we'll see a very similar device branded as a Daydream-compatible headset in the 'States later this year, though.
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