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HTC upgrades Vive VR headset with Vive Pre

By Rachel Weber

HTC upgrades Vive VR headset with Vive Pre

Tue 05 Jan 2016 6:24pm GMT / 1:24pm EST / 10:24am PST
HardwareVirtual Reality

Front facing camera, better controllers for the virtual reality kit

HTC has announced the latest upgrades to its Vive virtual reality headset, showing off the Vive Pre at CES. This new version includes a front facing camera and improved controllers and base stations.

The inclusion of a front facing camera opens up a number of augmented reality opportunities and also offers practical uses, like "being able to take a seat, find your drink, and carry on conversations without removing your headset" and reduces health and safety issues.

The upgraded controllers have updated ergonomics and softer edges, a new dual stage trigger and four hours of battery life from a single charge. The base stations are now also smaller and offer better tracking.

"When we first announced Vive ten months ago we had an ambitious goal of fundamentally changing the way people communicate and interact with the world - forever" said HTC CEO Cher Wang.

"Since then Vive has received a phenomenally positive reception from media, industry commentators, consumers, and the hundreds of partners and brands we've been working with to deliver inspiring and dynamic VR content. For too long, the promise of virtual reality has been little more than a promise. Today we stand on the precipice of a new era. Vive is creating a world where the only limit is human imagination."

The Vive was due for release last year but was delayed due to a "tech breakthrough," which was almost certainly this nifty new front camera. It's unclear just how similar this new Vive Pre kit will be to final consumer units, which are now scheduled for release in April. HTC did say that together with Valve it planned to make an additional 7,000 headsets available to developers from today.

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3 Comments

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,431 1,767 1.2
Considering the PR which preceded this announcement, I have to say that in 2016 a forward facing digital camera is as much a technological breakthrough as the wheel. But I have to concede it is a smart feature which might give HTC a small edge. Then again, the information was released one day before Facebooks starts its preorder campaign, which might be too late.

Posted:4 months ago

#1

Julian Williams CEO, WIZDISH Ltd.

156 185 1.2
If it incorporates inside-out tracking (e.g. SLAM) then it would be a big breakthrough. Cher is listed as the 54th most powerful person in the world so I'm not going to disagree with her :) Good to see a women in such a prominent role in the tech industry.

Posted:4 months ago

#2

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,550 1,568 0.6
The inclusion of a front facing camera opens up a number of augmented reality opportunities and also offers practical uses, like "being able to take a seat, find your drink, and carry on conversations without removing your headset" and reduces health and safety issues.
... which brings up two amusing asides:

1: Will that VR cam make your sloppy place look better as in a holodeck perfect clean house, or will you still have to whip off those goggles so you don't step on the sleeping family pet on your way to that beer or cola in the fridge?

2: So much for taking those goggles off to rest your eyeballs, right? NO ill effects in those marathon game sessions, kids! Get up and eat, drink and even pee if you like, those thick VR specs NEVER have to come off! Yeesh.

(Okay, 2a: The only conversations I can see being carried on if you're that much of a dork to not take the glasses off is "Um, I'm going to leave now because you aren't willing to unplug yourself long enough to talk to me"... unless it's a game where you have more than one person playing and everyone is FF-camming it around the home. Oh, the humanity - we go from staring down at tiny screens to ambling around the home with big black blinders on (but with a nice camera!). It's the wave of the future, I guess.

:D

Okay, the FF cam is a great idea, I'll admit it. But the oversell here is kind of reeky to my eyeballs.

Posted:4 months ago

#3

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