Google announced at Google I/O 2017 that it was developing a standalone VR headset with HTC, negating the need for a smartphone, PC and even wires to enjoy virtual reality. The company announced a standalone VR headset in China months later, suggesting that the standalone Vive VR headset will be making its debut in the UK sooner rather than later.
But what will it be called? While HTC is yet to officially brand the standalone headset, the company has filed trademarks for "Vive Focus" in Europe and the US. While some may argue that it could be the name of software, the filings mention a "head-mounted display", although nothing is confirmed yet.
Here, we discuss all the latest HTC Vive Focus release date rumours, along with the latest design and feature news.
If you're looking for more information on the second-generation Vive headset for PC, take a look at the latest HTC Vive 2 rumours.
When will the HTC Vive Focus be released in the UK?
While we’re still eagerly awaiting for the UK variant of HTC’s standalone VR headset to be announced, the company has announced a standalone Vive VR headset in China.
While it’s clear that it’s marketed only at the Chinese market and won’t be coming to the UK anytime soon, it signals that progress is being made in that department. No word on a Chinese release date just yet, but developers interested can apply to find out more.
With the announcement of the headset in China, we can’t imagine the variant being developed with Google being very different and as such, we suspect it’ll be announced before the end of 2017 with a possible release in 2018 - backed up by recent brand filings in the US and Europe.
New to the world of VR? Take a look at our complete guide to virtual reality.
What does the HTC Vive Focus look like?
Despite being announced in China, the overall design of the HTC Vive Focus is largely unknown. What we do know is that it’ll be completely wireless and won’t require any kind of base stations like the PC-powered HTC Vive, meaning it should be fairly simplistic in design.
From the silhouetted images shared at the announcement and at the Chinese launch, we can see big differences in the design of the headset when compared to the first-generation HTC Vive. It looks much sturdier with a head-strap akin to that used by the PlayStation VR headset, the VR headset with, in our opinion, the most comfortable fit of all VR headsets currently on the market.
We’ll be sure to update this section with more information about the design and build of the HTC Vive standalone VR headset as we receive it, so make sure you check back soon.
What does the HTC Vive Focus feature?
The biggest feature of HTC’s upcoming Vive Focus headset is that it doesn’t require a PC or a smartphone to work. The Chinese variant of the standalone headset is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor which is more than capable enough of powering decent VR experiences as we found out when we went hands-on with Qualcomm’s standalone VR headset in 2016.
Interestingly, rather than integrate one of the existing mobile platforms into the headset (like Google Daydream), HTC chose to offer its own Viveport store content in China. This is likely down to the restricted access that Google has in China, although using Viveport has its downsides.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 is an impressive processor, it can’t provide the same kind of quality as a VR-ready gaming PC – and that’s what all HTC Vive content thus far has been designed to run on.
It’s worth noting that there will be differences between the Chinese standalone HTC Vive headset and the one being developed with Google for release in the UK, but we think it’s safe to assume that the two will share similarities – it doesn’t seem logical to design one headset for one market and then start all over again for another market when both want the same thing, after all.
Either way, we’ll update this section whenever we receive new information so make sure you check back soon.
Interested in the HTC Vive? Here's a list of the best HTC Vive games available in 2017.