HTC VIVE TAKES BUSINESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL WITH TWO NEW VR HEADSETS 

VR gamers will be unhappy that HTC VIVE’s new headsets are all geared to enterprise – but they can be grateful to at least get tossed a VR bone.  The completely reworked VIVE Pro is priced at $1399 and the headset by itself is $749 as a part of a promo during the pre-order period which begins today.

BTR was privileged to meet with HTC VIVE for a preview of Vivecon 2021.  HTC VIVE is focused on enterprise where the majority of VR growth is taking place.  Right now, the world is transitioning to using VR for education, training, industrial, and design.  Industries are saving significant money by using VR and the transition is rapid.

Two years ago, April 2019, HTC VIVE announced the Focus Plus for $799 for standalone VR content and for use across a range of devices including PC VR, PCs/notebooks, smartphones, game consoles, 2D video and live 360 streaming, and Cloud VR services.  The Focus Plus allowed for collaborative interaction between formerly remote groups and it became very popular and profitable.  However, it was difficult to read text and the field of view is narrow.  To address industry’s need for an upgraded headset, HTC VIVE introduced the VIVE Focus 3.

The VIVE Focus 3

VIVE’s All-In-One Focus 3 is their solution for business VR to bring more comfort and balance to the headset as well as better audio and reworked 4 camera inside-out tracking and redesigned controllers.  The VIVE Focus 3 is powered by a premium Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 platform which boasts double the CPU/GPU processing power of its predecessor allowing it a 5K (4896×2448) resolution with LED (not OLED) dual 2.5K displays and a 90Hz refresh rate and 120-degree field of view (FoV). The display panel uses RGB subpixels and promises to allow for better reading/writing text.  It also connects to a PC via a cable for PC VR and promises future support for wireless streaming.

The headset is stronger and lighter and the emphasis is given to all day use from its batteries which can be hot-swapped so there is no down time.  The Focus 3 even comes with active cooling for extended use wearing comfort.  To support its industry focus, HTC VIVE has built a complete business-oriented ecosystem for collaboration similar to what NVIDIA does with its Omniverse.  The Focus 3 Business warranty includes 2 years of fast turnaround service and it will sell for $1300.

It looks really good and we are intrigued, but BTR’s emphasis is on consumer VR which lagging way behind industry adoption of VR.  However, HTC VIVE also released the Vive Pro 2 which features an internals upgrade focusing on improved resolution, FoV, and refresh rates.

The VIVE Pro 2

The reworked VIVE Pro 2 has all the major upgrades needed to call this a proper Generation 2.0 headset.  The FoV has been widened to a respectable 120 degrees and the resolution has been significantly upgraded to what VIVE calls “5K”.  Actually, it’s “2.5K” to each eye (4896×2448 total) which is a huge amount of pixels for any video cards to handle.  The Vive Pro currently has 1440×1600 pixels per eye.

In addition, the refresh rate has been increased from 90Hz to 120Hz which is a great solution to increase comfort for non-stop  action and in-your-face VR games like Borderlands 2 and the Serious Sam series.  The VIVE Pro 2 uses a new bespoke dual stacked lens design.  According to VIVE, “these advances mean minimal motion blur and the ‘screen door effect’ is virtually eliminated.”  We will update this post if we hear back regarding the lens distortion compensation factor and what SteamVR’s render resolution is.  We can’t wait to try the Pro 2!

HTC VIVE also worked with NVIDIA and AMD to use and implement Display Stream Compression for maximum visual quality.  It’s also backwards compatible with DisplayPort 1.2, so older graphics cards which supported the VIVE Pro will see a benefit from the VIVE Pro 2.  In addition, we were told that the current Wireless Adapter for the Pro will also work for the Pro 2!  Again we can’t wait to test these features.

Not much else was changed between the original Pro to the Pro 2.  The audio is the same high quality, the headset has the same well-balanced weight and feel, and the accessories are the same and will work with the Pro 2.

The VIVE Pro 2 will fit into an existing SteamVR setup – Base Station 1.0 or 2.0, Wireless Adapter, VIVE controllers, or SteamVR controllers like the Index Knuckles.  For upgraders, VIVE Pro 2 in the headset-only version is available for pre-order from 6 PM BST, today May 11. VIVE is running a special promotion during the pre-order period, offering a discount for those who want to upgrade $749. The full-kit VIVE Pro 2, includes Base Station 2.0 and Wand Controllers, is available from 4 June for $1399.

Read more about VIVE Pro 2 here: vive.com/vive-pro2

Here is HTC VIVE’s press release:

Powerful VR headsets, software, platform and services geared to enterprise all launched at VIVECON 2021

Highlights:

  • HTC VIVE Pro 2: sharp, precise, immersive. PC VR like nothing else
  • HTC VIVE Focus 3: a new era for business VR. Powerful and versatile All-in-One
  • 5K resolution, 120 degree field of view, and real RGB sub-pixels in both headsets
  • VIVE Pro 2 pre-order from 11 May, on sale 4 June. VIVE Focus 3 on sale 27 June
  • VIVE Business: a range of new tools designed specifically for businesses of all sizes

VIVECON 2021, 11 May 2021 – HTC VIVE, the global leader in premium virtual reality (VR), today set a new benchmark for business and consumer VR, bringing 5K resolution and a 120-degree field of view as standard to the two new VR headsets announced today at VIVECON 2021, HTC’s global VR conference.

VIVE Pro 2 pushes the boundaries of PC VR for incredible gaming, creating, and experiences, while VIVE Focus 3 redefines business VR with a purpose-built All-in-One with no compromises. HTC also announced VIVE Business, its comprehensive range of tools designed to support businesses of any size to get the most out of VR.

“Today’s launch marks a major milestone in our strategy to create the very best immersive experiences. We have listened to our customers, from well-known global companies to smaller firms and professional users, and have designed these premium headsets from the ground up to meet the challenges they face, adding a professional range of software, platform and services to make implementation as smooth and effective as possible,” said Cher Wang, HTC Chairwoman and CEO. “In line with our mission, we’ve combined the very latest technology with the needs and aspirations of our customers, enabling them to unleash their imagination to improve people’s lives and solve problems for business and society.”

“Furthermore, I am delighted to share this good news at our first global VIVECON event; a clear demonstration of how the virtual world has become mainstream over the last year, enabling people from all over the world to join us without leaving their homes,” continued Cher Wang. “In this new normal, VIVE is playing a greater role in bringing people closer together while creating a more sustainable world.”

VIVE Pro 2 – Sharp, Precise, Immersive

VIVE Pro 2 takes PC VR to the next level, when every pixel and polygon counts, for high-end gaming or creating the impossible.

A stunning 5K resolution display delivers 2.5K to each eye, coupled with a beautifully fluid 120 Hz refresh rate, and fast-switching panel with real RGB sub-pixels, for crystal clear and super smooth animations. Field of view increases to 120 degrees thanks to VIVE Pro 2’s new bespoke dual stacked-lens design. These advances mean minimal motion blur and the ‘screen door effect’ is virtually eliminated, giving people a more natural and immersive experience.

HTC VIVE also worked closely with NVIDIA and AMD to utilise Display Stream Compression, for the first time in a VR headset. Display Stream Compression ensures maximum visual quality and is also backwards compatible with DisplayPort 1.2, so even graphics cards which supported VIVE Pro will see a benefit with VIVE Pro 2.

VIVE Pro 2 has fine-adjustable inter-pupillary distance (IPD), evenly distributed weight balance, adjustable head strap, and a quick-adjustable sizing dial. Perfect for finding your personal preferences, and also sharing the experience with others. VIVE Pro 2 has 3D spatial sound with Hi-Res Audio Certified headphones, and supports third party headphones.

All VIVE SteamVR ecosystem accessories will work with VIVE Pro 2 – VIVE Trackers of any generation, the new VIVE Facial Tracker, and more. VIVE Pro 2 will slot into an existing SteamVR setup – whether it’s Base Station 1.0 or Base Station 2.0, VIVE Wireless Adapter, VIVE controllers, or even controllers and gloves like Valve’s Index ‘knuckle’ controllers.

For upgraders, VIVE Pro 2 in the headset-only version is available for pre-order from 6pm BST on 11 May. As a special thank you for loyal users, VIVE is running a special promotion during the pre-order period, offering a discount for those who want to upgrade – making VIVE Pro 2 available for £659 / $749 / €739.

The full-kit VIVE Pro 2, which includes Base Station 2.0 and VIVE Controllers, is available from 4 June, for £1299 / $1399 / €1399. Read more about VIVE Pro 2 here: vive.com/vive-pro2

VIVE Focus 3 – A New Era for Business VR

The new All-In-One VIVE Focus 3 is the ultimate solution for business VR, combining outstanding visuals with a smarter ergonomic design, superior audio and next level inside-out tracking and controllers.

VIVE Focus 3 has 5K resolution with class-leading dual 2.5K displays, a smooth 90Hz refresh rate and an ultra-wide 120-degree field of view, for exceptional immersion. The fast-switching display panel uses real RGB subpixels, practically eliminating the screen door effect. The new visuals mean fine details like writing and overall fidelity are dramatically clearer, allowing for software design and user interaction to be more natural.

VIVE Focus 3 delivers superior comfort, with a new strap design, balanced weight distribution, and an intelligently designed curved battery pack which is swappable. VIVE Focus 3’s battery pack can be changed in seconds, allowing you to keep going on a non-stop day. Quick charge gives you 50% battery from just 30 minutes of charging, and an L.E.D indicator lets you know how much power you have left.

Durable and lightweight, the magnesium alloy frame of VIVE Focus 3 is 20% lighter and 500% stronger than traditional plastics. VIVE Focus 3 has a wide range and fine-adjustable Inter Pupillary Distance range, as well as a quick-release button and easily removable magnetic front and rear face gaskets – so it’s quick and effortless to swap in replacements or clean them – especially important on days when there are lots of different users.

VIVE Focus 3 has new open-back speakers featuring a pair of dual drivers, delivering immersive and true-to-life audio. They are contact-free which means users can still maintain environmental awareness while staying immersed in VR. For peace of mind in VR meetings, a special audio privacy setting dramatically reduces the risk of sound being overheard by people nearby.

VIVE Focus 3 uses an AI powered inside-out tracking algorithm for precise tracking, with privacy at the forefront as all tracking data is stored in an encrypted format on the headset. The redesigned controllers are easy and intuitive to use – one of the lightest 6dof controllers on the market that last for 15 hours on a single charge. Hand tracking support will be released in the future.

Powering VIVE Focus 3 is a specially optimised Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 platform, combined with a copper heat pipe and cooling fan, so that it’s always cool under pressure. Featuring the all-new VIVE Reality System 2.0 which delivers a more streamlined and professional environment, VIVE Focus 3 will be on sale 27 June 2021, for £1060 / $1300 / €1180 (includes VIVE Business Warranty and Services, excludes VAT).  Read more about the VIVE Focus 3 here: vive.com/vive-focus3

VIVE Business

VIVE Business is a complete suite of software and services, supporting the needs of businesses looking to get the best out of XR. No matter the organisation’s size, VIVE Business is scalable and secure, making life easier for deployment, maintenance, remote support, training needs, and much more.

The VIVE Business Device Management System is a simple and intuitive MDM and is ISO certified, allowing IT to quickly and easily see the status of each VIVE Focus 3 on the network, remotely install new business apps, update software, and more. VIVE Focus 3 is designed to work with Android Enterprise MDM, so it can also slot into pre-existing MDM solutions already active in your environment.

Building on the success of the consumer VIVEPORT store, the VIVE Business AppStore is a curated collection of apps and tools, covering diverse areas like training, communication, visualisation, and more. It’s simple to pick an app off-the-shelf, or even get in touch with the creator to tailor it for specific needs.

VIVE Business Training is perfect to support training sessions of any size. The training leader can observe the progress of each trainee, via an Android device, highlighting the next steps needed and talking the trainee through it, even in a class size of hundreds. VIVE Business Streaming supports connecting VIVE Focus 3 to a PC via a cable, with fully wireless streaming support coming in the future. VIVE Business will see new tools and features added in the future, delivering a continuously updated powerful suite of business solutions.

VIVE gives control back to businesses. Organisations can choose to take up VIVE Business services, or they can simply pay a one-off cost for VIVE Focus 3 and integrate it into their existing setup, with no recurring fees and the ability to use their hardware as they choose to.

VIVE Sync

Meet in VR with realistic avatars to discuss business, host presentations, examine 3D models, teach a class, and more with VIVE Sync. Originally built as an internal communications tool to support collaboration on product design, VIVE Sync was launched in Beta in June 2020. Now, having been used in almost 100 countries around the world, VIVE Sync is launching in Pro and Enterprise versions, offering different new environments, tools, and ways to interact. Bring everyday files into VR, from Microsoft PowerPoint presentations through to 3D formats. VIVE Sync is perfect for groups of up to 30 people, and for larger groups, VIVE’s XR Suite offers a range of different scenarios. Read more about VIVE XR Suite here: enterprise.vive.com/solutions/xr-suite

About HTC

HTC VIVE is the premier virtual reality (VR) platform and ecosystem that creates true-to-life VR experiences for businesses and consumers. The VIVE ecosystem is built around premium VR hardware, software, and content. The VIVE business encompasses best-in-class XR hardware; VIVEPORT platform and app store; VIVE Enterprise Solutions for business customers; VIVE X, a US$100M VR business accelerator; and VIVE ARTS for cultural initiatives. For more information, please visit www.vive.com.

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BTR plans to review the Vive Pro 2.  Stay tuned.

Happy VR Gaming!