HTC announces new, small VR headset - is it Vive Flow 2?

HTC announces new, small VR headset - is it Vive Flow 2?

The Vive Flow VR headset offers a very slim form factor at the expense of technology. A touted successor could do better.

HTC Vive's Twitter presence once again starts a guessing game about new hardware: A tweet from October 6 shows a small detail of a new VR headset. The photo does not give an exact picture of the VR headset yet.

However, the accompanying text "Go small or go home" suggests that it will be a new, slim VR headset - perhaps a successor to the Vive Flow.

Shortly after the tweet, HTC confirmed to us that it is indeed the teaser for a "new headset". More information should follow soon. The wording "headset" without the term "VR" is interesting.

A successor for the compact VR headset Vive Flow?

In the mail, HTC talks about an "eventful time" since the company introduced the Vive Flow twelve months ago. The text emphasizes that at the time, it was the first evolution of the Proton project for a lightweight, immersive XR headset that was unveiled in early 2020. Proton was explicitly announced as mixed reality glasses with 5G support at the time, but Vive Flow does not offer an AR mode.

Augmented reality via video passthrough could therefore play a role in the new device, similar to the Pico 4 from Bytedance or the Meta Quest Pro, which will be presented at Meta Connect next Tuesday, October 11.

Other new technologies from HTC's latest hardware releases could also play a role. In the mail, the company mentions the Wrist Tracker as the first "inside-out tracker for an all-in-one headset" and 5G VR streaming, among other things.

HTC writes, "At MWC, we showcased our new private 5G solution, G-Reign, streaming PC-VR experiences to our VIVE Focus 3 headset over a super-fast wireless network. Since then, we've expanded the VIVE Focus 3 ecosystem to include eye and facial trackers. But maybe our demands need to ... get smaller?"

The concluding sentence in particular underscores that HTC might focus more on miniaturization than the competition with current VR headsets like the Meta Quest 2 or Pico 4. While the devices are already much slimmer than previous models thanks to new lenses, they are still quite clunky.

Tests of the Vive Flow were still rather negative despite the compact form factor. Overall, the device offers too little function for the money and is still large despite all its compactness. HTC introduced a business version of the Vive Flow in June 2022.

Sources: HTC Vive