The cat was out of the bag on Tuesday, but today is the official reveal of HTC's latest VR device, Vive Flow. HTC designed this compact, lightweight, portable headset for wellbeing, not entertainment.
The HTC Vive Flow is a new type of VR device that targets a whole new segment of customers. Most VR headsets are either designed for gamers or intended for business use. Vive Flow is meant for casual users who want to escape reality for a little while.
"With VIVE Flow, HTC is taking technology in a new direction, focusing not on what we do but on how we feel. Maintaining our wellness has come to the forefront in the last few years, with so many millions feeling stressed every day, so it has never been more important to take time out to calm our minds, and VIVE Flow provides the perfect opportunity to escape our four walls and immerse ourselves in our ideal ambience," said Cher Wang, Chairwoman, and CEO of HTC. "Meditation, gentle stretches, brain training, streaming our favorite shows, or even meeting friends or coworkers in VR with VIVE Sync can all be enhanced by a device light and compact enough to fit in our pocket. VIVE Flow represents the next evolution of technology, as we take a more holistic view of how we can make life better."
The Vive Flow is somewhat of a hybrid between a smartphone-powered and standalone VR headset. The headset gets its content from Viveport, and there are a variety of titles explicitly made for the Vive Flow, including meditation and relaxation apps. HTC created a new tier of Viveport, which you can purchase for $5.99 per month, that offers unlimited access to a host of Vive Flow-compatible software.
"Relaxation means different things to different people," said Nanea Reeves, CEO of leading XR wellness service TRIPP. "It's important to find your own version of zen, whether that means meditating, watching videos, or playing games. The fact that HTC gets it, that we can use VR in these ways that can benefit peoples' emotional and mental wellbeing is something that I personally am very excited about as is our entire team at TRIPP."
Vive Flow also works with HTC's virtual meeting platform, Vive Sync, making it an excellent headset for hanging out with friends in virtual spaces or jumping into work meetings with remote colleagues.
The Vive Flow can also connect wirelessly to 5G Android smartphones, allowing you to use your phone as a controller for the Vive Flow headset. You can also stream video content, such as TV shows and movies, from your phone to the headset.
HTC said the Vive Flow weights just 189g, and the goggles fold up, thanks to the soft face gasket and dual-hinge headband, to make them easy to port around. There is an optional carrying case for the headset, but you could easily toss the device into a purse or a backpack.
HTC did not release the full technical specs of the Vive Flow to us ahead of the announcement, but the company said the Vive Flow features a 100-degree field of view, 75Hz refresh rate, and a 3.2K resolutions display configuration. The headset also includes built-in speakers with 3D spatial audio. It does not offer a headphone jack, but you can tether the device to Bluetooth headphones.
HTC set the price for the Vive Flow at $499. The headset will go on sale at retail in November. However, if you pre-order one, you'll get a few bonuses if you order one early. HTC will toss in a free carrying case and seven pieces of content with every pre-ordered Vive Flow.
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