HTC has just unveiled its 2018 flagship, the HTC U12+, proving that it’s not yet done in the mobile market. It is perhaps no coincidence that it scheduled that announcement mere days before its VIVE Ecosystem Conference (VEC). Because at its VR-centric event, it announced a reimagined VIVE Ecosystem and a new System Update 2.0 for the VIVE Focus which would, among other things, let HTC U12+ owners see their smartphone notifications inside the VIVE Focus, letting them access a part of the outside world without removing the headset.
The divide between the real world and the virtual is one of the biggest problems with VR (which AR doesn’t always have). But just because there’s a very opaque screen that stands between you and the outside world doesn’t mean you have to be disconnected similarly. At least that’s what HTC is trying to stay with its new VIVE Focus System Update 2.0, its biggest update to the standalone VR headset yet.
HTC’s focus, pun totally intended, is to bring a part of your smartphone, an HTC smartphone, of course, into your virtual world. With the built-in VIVE app in the HTC U12+, you will be able to see your smartphone’s notifications pop up right before your very eyes. You can also take calls, too, all without removing your headset.
And that’s not the only thing you’ll be able to do with your HTC U12+ phoned paired with a VIVE Focus. In the future, you will be able to use the smartphone as a controller for VR games as well. You will also be able to connect the VIVE FOcus to the Internet using your phone, perfect for when you’re out in the wilderness and want to watch Ready Player One in VR.
This is actually just the tip of the iceberg for what HTC has planned, not just for its VIVE Focus headset but for its entire VIVE ecosystem. Part of these plans include being able to stream VIVE and Steam games to the Focus, removing the need for the heavyweight VIVE headset in the long run.