Vive Pre – A New Developer Edition
HTC Vive, developed in partnership with Valve is expected to be one of the big PC VR headsets, alongside Oculus Rift. At the end of 2015, the release date was postponed due to the decision to improve the device more before the consumer release. During CES, HTC present the latest developer edition called Vive Pre and has confirmed that they still target April release window.
The biggest change in the headset technical design is the new front facing camera. It will allow you to mix the virtual world and the view of the real world in front of you. One of the use cases mentioned by HTC is the additional indication of getting close to the boundaries of VR arena. While previous version was limited to the virtual wall, Vive Pre can automatically show outlines of real world objects. The photos of Vive Pre shows only a single front camera, so it seems that you will not see real objects as 3D from inside the headset.
Other changes include redesigned controls, lighthouse base station and the improved design of headset itself. Interchangeable inserts and nose gaskets should allow Vive to be adjusted for more comfort on your own head. Overall, the whole system looks much closer to the consumer version, than the initial prototype last year. HTC mentions improved and brighter displays in their press release. Unfortunately, there is a complete lack of more specific technical details.
HTC and Valve plan to send 7000 Vive Pre units to the developers, with the priority given to the existing partners. The rest of us will have to wait until April, unless the schedule is written in Valve Time.