HTC Blends Virtual and Real Worlds

By Tom Allen
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HTC announced its Vive VR headset at MWC last year, and used CES to introduce a new version called the Vive Pre.

A refreshed design and new components are intended to provide the wearer with a greater sense of comfort and reality. The new headset is smaller, with an updated strap for increased stability. The display has also been updated, and is now brighter.

However, the big news was a feature that HTC has built into the unit, which delayed the release of the headset. This is a front-facing camera that will ‘map’ real world objects into the virtual reality being viewed by the wearer. Pressing a button on the handheld controller will ‘ghost’ objects in, so wearers can manoeuvre around chairs and tables, pick up drinks and talk to friends without removing the headset.

Speaking of the controllers, these have also been updated. They are now said to be more comfortable to hold, with smoother edges, greater balance, textured buttons and grip pads. A new dual stage trigger makes object interaction smoother, and haptic feedback has been added. The controllers will run for four hours on battery.

On the inside, interchangeable foam inserts and nose gaskets have been added. These can be used to adjust the headset to suit various facial shapes.

HTC will launch the Vive headset in April this year, and it will be available to pre-order from the 29th February.

Those looking for smartphones, however, were left disappointed. HTC’s CEO, Cher Wang, told The Telegraph that the company is moving away from the smartphone market (although still considers it important) to focus on VR.