HTC launches standalone Vive VR headset in China

HTC announced a standalone Vive VR headset on Thursday at the ChinaJoy entertainment conference in Shanghai, powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 mobile processor.

The headset is one of the first to remove the connected device, allowing gamers to play without needing a high-end smartphone or PC. Oculus is reportedly working on a similar headset.

See Also: VR/AR headset sales to reach 100 million by 2021, says IDC

The standalone Vive VR will launch in China, utilizing the company’s own Viveport app platform.

“China is the leading mobile market in the world today, and has the momentum to lead the global VR market as well,” said Alvin W. Graylin, China regional president of Vive. “Partnering with Qualcomm to deliver an easy to use and more affordable Vive VR system will enable us to make premium standalone VR widely accessible to the masses in China.”

HTC did not say if it will launch the standalone Vive VR in the U.S. or Europe in the future. It also did not confirm the price of the unit in the press release.

Choosing Viveport as the default platform may be seen as a way to squeeze Steam VR out of the Vive. Steam is not banned in China, and its library is far larger than Viveport. HTC has argued in the past that its own content platform caters to more than video games, which is why it has made it the default.

Working with Qualcomm

Qualcomm has built the Snapdragon 835 to provide VR experiences, but this is the first time it will be used as the base for an entire VR headset. It should be powerful enough, considering the Pixel XL uses a Snapdragon 821 to power the Daydream VR headset, and Samsung has supported devices with even lower power on its Gear VR.

“Snapdragon 835 is designed to deliver superior VR experiences without the need for wires or a separate PC,” said Hugo Swart, senior director of product management at Qualcomm. “We are thrilled to work with HTC’s Vive team as they utilize our rich feature set to create exciting, new VR experiences in the first truly mobile VR headset of the Vive ecosystem.”

We will update once we have information on Western launch dates and price.

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