An accessory that enables the HTC Vive virtual reality headset to be used wirelessly has appeared as available for preorder on the company’s official Chinese site. Created by TPCast, a startup inside HTC’s Vive X accelerator programme, the small clip-on device allows the Vive headset to be used without the need to be tethered to a PC.
It seems incredible, but according to HTC and TPCast the device is able to provide “a seamless tether-less high-end PC VR experience” that doesn’t compromise on quality.
In an official statement, Alvin W. Graylin, China Regional President of Vive said that the company is "very proud and supportive of teams that develop great accessories and game changing peripherals to the Vive ecosystem," adding that the fact this device is able to deliver "such high quality is remarkable."
Graylin also told UploadVR that there’s “no noticeable difference” in latency when using the accessory and that it will be shipped with a standard battery able to provide up to an hour and a half of power. A bigger battery that will provide more power and can be carried in the user’s pocket is being worked on and will become available at a later date.
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The accessory is available for preorder on HTC Vive’s Chinese website for 1,499 yuan (around £175/$220/AU $290) with orders expected to ship in the first quarter of 2017.
Though the device is currently only available via the Chinese site, Graylin told UploadVR that orders will ship to anyone able to navigate the site and pay for shipping.
Whether or not we’ll see it make its way to local markets or become integrated into future HTC headsets is unclear, though Graylin does say that he does “imagine technologies like this will become an option for future products.”
HTC says it expects that the accessory will prove to be popular with “avid” Vive users, but the ability to have a completely untethered Vive experience is something that would greatly improve the headset. Being restricted by wires is one of the main things holding powerful PC VR experiences back; if HTC was able to solve this issue in the Vive it could easily become the leader of the high end VR market.
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