HTC teases a mysterious new product
HTC announces a new Vive device. What could the box be for?
The company published a picture of the product via Twitter without further comment. It shows a small device with a display and numerous ports. The printed Vive logo indicates a product in the VR and AR context.
Several Vive trackers and base stations for SteamVR tracking can be seen on the display. Ports include a DisplayPort and HDMI, as well as several USB and network ports. It is probably a system that allows synchronizing Vive trackers with each other and with other devices (audio, video).
A device for virtual production?
The device is likely intended for technical optimization of virtual productions that require a variety of trackers and facilitate the recording of movements and scenes. Think professional motion capturing, mixed reality videos or VTubing (Youtube with virtual reality avatars).
– HTC VIVE (@htcvive) April 15, 2022
One advantage of SteamVR tracking is that the tracking system is much cheaper, especially on larger surfaces, compared to other established solutions like Optitrack, which can quickly cost a six-figure sum depending on the surface and number of cameras.
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HTC also sells its own tracking units that can be attached to the body or objects: The third-generation Vive trackers were introduced a year ago and cost about $140. Base stations are also required, which cost about $200 each.
HTC is looking for new niches
The still nameless device is the first new hardware product since HTC’s wrist tracker. In 2021, the company announced a variety of new devices: from the aforementioned Vive Trackers and the Vive Facial Tracker to the VR headset HTC Vive Pro 2 and Vive Focus 3 (now with OpenXR support) to the casual VR glasses HTC Vive Flow.
The latter device was an attempt to appeal more to consumers again after HTC had maneuvered more and more into the business and niche sector over the years. Consumer products like the HTC Vive Cosmos had not found the hoped-for appeal.
With the new product, HTC could partially leave its established field and turn to movie production.