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Shadow VR is the latest rival to the Oculus Quest


This VR headset does 6DoF tracking on both the head and controllers. While we're all anticipating the launch of the Oculus Quest standalone VR headset in spring 2019, HTC's been busy pushing its very own Vive Focus into more markets -- including the US and Europe as of today -- while letting developers toy with its 6DoF controller add-on. Luckily for HTC, it's not alone in this upcoming battle. Also announced today is Shadow Creator's Shadow VR, a new Vive Wave-based 6DoF headset which comes with the company's self-developed 6DoF controllers. Much like the Vive Focus, the Shadow VR is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 and features a 110-degree field of view via Fresnel optics, but it comes with a slightly lower 2,560 x 1,440 display resolution (the Vive Pro, Focus and Quest all have 2,880 x 1,600). Since this is based on the same reference design, it's the same inside-out world-scale tracking tech using the stereoscopic front cameras. Here's hoping that Shadow VR will also get the Focus' see-through mode, just for that extra bit of convenience. Little else is known about the Shadow VR (we don't even have images of the controllers), but it'll be available to consumers globally on November 11th for $399 -- matching the Quest's aggressive price. We expect to get more info right before launch. The Shadow VR is joined by Pico's Neo and G2 from earlier, both of which are also Vive Wave-powered headsets but aimed at business users. Now that there are 15 hardware partners in total supporting HTC's Android-based VR platform, we may well see more headset announcements from them in the very near future.

HTC will make Vive Focus standalone VR headset available in North America and dozens of other markets


HTC said it will make the Vive Focus standalone virtual reality headset available in North America and dozens of other markets. The move is part of an expansion aimed at taking VR into enterprise markets, where customers arent as sensitive to higher hardware prices. Previously, the headset was available only in China. Dan OBrien, general manager of the Americas for HTC Vive, said at an event in San Francisco that the Vive Focus will be available for developers at $600, and the enterprises can buy the product for $750 in 37 new markets, including the U.S. and Europe. Vive Advantage and Vive Advantage+ are new services aimed at getting enterprises to adopt VR headsets with enterprise support. There will also be a new six-degrees-of-freedom (6DoF) controller for the Vive Focus in the coming months. This allows people to use the Vive Focus with both hands in VR, in contrast to the current 3DoF controller for use with one hand. Hugo Swart, senior director of product management at Qualcomm Technologies, said mobile XR (extended reality) can drive technology in the enterprise. He said the standalone category, which sits between smartphones and PCs, fits nicely in the enterprise, with advantages such as wireless and two-hand controller experiences. Enterprises are using VR to collaborate and engage with a complete solution, said OBrien. He said enterprises are already using VR to train thousands of people in everything from manufacturing to medical enterprises. In the past, the Vive Focus was available in China and other limited markets. The Vive Focus isnt quite as powerful as the HTC Vive Pro or HTC Vive, which both use PCs for processing. The Vive Focus, however, does not need to be attached to a PC, as it has its own Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor as its brain. It has three hours of battery life and a screen resolution of 1,440 x 1,600 pixels per eye. It also has inside-out tracking, meaning it does not need separate sensors to be put up around your room. OBrien said that 65 percent of people surveyed felt that VR could be used in training and simulation, and 59 percent felt it could be used in education. We felt collaboration in a professional environment was an unsolved category, OBrien said. Vive Sync is a workforce collaboration tool targeted at this market. You can mark up shared documents and store them for future use. As many as 20 people can be in the same VR space. Vive Sync offers us the ability to meet in groups in virtual reality, he said. The device will use HTCs Viveport as its single store, with apps available for multiple kinds of headsets from different vendors. For example, Shadow Creators Shadow VR head-mounted display will work with the Vive Wave platform, meaning it is Vive compatible, and apps for it are available in the Viveport store.