HTC's partnership with Valve for virtual reality (VR), which resulted in the Vive brand, has brought a few products to consumers since its inception, and the companies have been continuously improving the technology over time. Today, HTC took some time at CES to announce a range of new products and services.
For starters, the HTC Vive Pro Eye is essentially the same as the Vive Pro released last year with one crucial difference - support for precision eye tracking. As you would likely expect, this allows users to aim at targets using their eyes instead of a controller, for instance. It also allows their avatar to act more human-like in social environments by mimicking your real life blinking and eye movements. Aside from eye tracking, the headset seems to feature all of the same specs as the original Vive Pro, and it's set to be released in the second quarter of 2019. It remains to be seen if the new feature will cause a bump in price over its predecessor, which was already pretty expensive.
The bigger announcement of today may be the Vive Cosmos headset, which aims to make VR more accessible to everyone. The Cosmos doesn't require any base stations in order to be set up, so you can use it wherever you go - similar to Facebook's Oculus Quest - and it's supposed to be much easier to set up as well. Based on the video below, it seems like the headset can be used with a smartphone too.
Additionally, HTC says the Cosmos has the company's sharpest display yet, though technical details don't seem to be available. It also comes with a new Vive tracking system as well as new Vive controllers to work with it. It features a flip-up design to make it easier to move from the virtual world back to real life, and there's a new head grip with breathable material for added comfort while using the headset.
HTC says it will make developer kits available early in the year, with availability and pricing details coming later on.
The Vive Cosmos will also mark the debut of the Vive Reality System, a new experience for VR headsets from the company. The new system is a complete rethinking of the user interface in virtual reality, and it aims to make it easier for people to step into the virtual worlds. Though not much was said about what will change, HTC did mention it will include Firefox Reality, Mozilla's dedicated VR browser launched last year, as part of the experience.
Lastly, there's news for those looking for content for their Vive headsets. Viveport, the digital storefront for VR content on the company's headsets, is getting a new kind of subscription which removes any limits on the content you can access. Right now, a Viveport subscription will give you a choice of five titles per month, but with Viveport Infinity you'll be able to enjoy VR to your heart's content for "one low price", which HTC didn't specify. Viveport Infinity will go live on April 5 of this year.
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