HTC unveils Vive Focus Plus

TAIPEI (CNA) – Taiwan-based smartphone brand HTC Corp., which has entered the global virtual reality (VR) market to diversify its product mix, unveiled Friday the Vive Focus Plus, an upgraded version of the standalone Vive Focus.

According to HTC, the new Vive Focus Plus, which will target business customers, will be demonstrated in the upcoming 2019 Mobile World Congress (MWC) scheduled to open in Barcelona Feb. 25.

The Vive Focus Plus is equipped with two “6 degrees of freedom” (6DoF) controllers, and with its improved graphics and the ultimate in ergonomic comfort, the all-in-one VR system is ideal for showrooms, training simulations and virtual conferences, HTC said.

“With 6DoF tracking available in the new controllers, VR navigation and hand motions are highly intuitive and immersive” HTC said. “The pressure-sensitive trigger provides enhanced interaction and manipulation of objects in virtual environments.” The new gadget is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 chips and it is also equipped with a high-resolution AMOLED display, according to HTC.

Through the Vive Wave VR platform, Vive Focus Plus users will be allowed to download new content and apps from the Viveport, HTC’s virtual reality app store, the company said.

The Vive Wave is an open system and toolset that enables easy Mobile VR content development and high-performance device optimization for third-party partners.

HTC first introduced the Vive Focus at the Vive Developer Conference in Beijing in November 2017. In November 2018, the business version of the Vive Focus model hit the global market.

The Vive Focus Plus is scheduled to go on sale in the second quarter of this year.

HTC unveiled its first VR headset – the HTC Vive – in 2015 in a bid to help the company offset the impact from escalating competition in the global smartphone market. However, market analysts said the VR operations have only accounted for a small proportion of HTC sales.

In 2018, HTC’s consolidated sales totaled NT$23.74 billion (US$771 million), down 61.78 percent from the previous year, the seventh consecutive year of decline.

HTC posted a loss per share of NT$3.18 in the third quarter of last year, worse than the NT$2.53 loss per share seen in the previous quarter.

However, although HTC posted a net loss in the third quarter, it still recorded NT$20.01 in earnings per share for the first nine months of the year because of the one-time profit it made on a US$1 billion sale of its smartphone ODM assets to Google in the first quarter.

By Jiang Ming-yan and Frances Huang