HTC announces Vive Focus Plus, an upgraded VR headset for commercial users

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HTC is well-known for its Vive VR Headsets, which deliver high-quality VR experiences for both consumers and professionals. Recently, the company announced an upgraded version of the Vive Focus, the company’s enterprise-focused VR headset.

First, the original: Launched in November 2018 in the US and Europe with a starting price of $599, the Vive Focus is a standalone headset – meaning it packs everything required to get into VR, without the need of an external computer. The headset uses a Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 chip, features high-resolution 3K AMOLED screens, inside-out, 6 Degrees of Freedom (DoF) tracking, with 110º field-of-view (FOV), IPD adjustment, and comes with a single 3DoF controller.

The recently announced version, the Vive Focus Plus, comes with two 6DoF controllers to provide users with the same level of interaction seen on desktop-connected headsets. While the Focus Plus is similar to its predecessor in terms of specifications, HTC claims it offers better “comfort and lays the groundwork for extended sessions in VR needed by commercial customers.” Also, with the help of Vive’s WAVE platform, a “vibrant ecosystem” for standalone and mobile VR, and SDK tools, developers can easily port PC-based VR content to Vive Focus Plus.

According to HTC, different companies are already using the Focus Plus to provide medical training and safety simulation purposes. For example, Immersive Factory, a company that provides health, safety, and environment (HSE) training courses, has ported many of its offerings from the Vive Pro to Vive Focus Plus to facilitate large corporation deployments, according to Olivier Pierre, COO and founder of Immersive Factory. “Having a professional standalone headset is very important for us to widely integrate and deploy virtual reality for workforce training at large groups, with plants all other the world, who previously saw the equipment as a barrier.”

Olivier Gardinetti, CTO of SimforHealth, another company which offers an immersive, interactive and collaborative approach to the training of health professionals, said “the 6DOF controllers have improved the way to perform specific medical interactions that were not possible with the regular 3DOF controllers. Now, Simforhealth’s simulators have a better, more comfortable user experience”.

During the 2019 Mobile World Congress, Vive will showcase the Vive Focus Plus and the new Vive Pro Eye. Even though there’s no word on pricing yet, HTC plans to release the headset in Q2 2019 in 25 markets worldwide, supporting 19 languages.

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João Antunes

IT and videogames are João's topics of interest since a very early age. Videogames, the Internet, game consoles and computers became his normal toys, as result of being the son of a journalist writing about the infancy of the Web, the games industry and hardware in general. Small game reviews published on the first Portuguese computer games magazine, back in the early 2000s ignited a passion – writing - he now pursues, along with his other interests: programming, web designing and hardware. Technology in general makes him tick.

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