HTC had a bit of a mixed year in 2016 in regards to Virtual Reality. Yes, the Korean company was often praised for having the best VR headset of them all. However, that didn’t translate into exciting sales numbers. In the end, it was the cheaper, mobile-powered headset of the Samsung Gear VR that managed to sell five million units. So, does that mean that we will see a Vive Smartphone? Surprisingly, there is evidence that this is indeed the case.
The Case for the Vive Smartphone
HTC has not announced anything, nor has there been any patent leak, like we had with Apple and Google. Instead, the clue came from a promotional video that HTC made and got leaked on Twitter. At the very end of the video, there appears to be a mobile phone with ‘HTC Vive’ on the back. The video was published by Evan Blass, who is a mobile reporter for Venture Beat. Where exactly the promotional video came from is not really clear, but it might well have been accidentally released before its intended release date.
The further potential proof is that HTC has an event bookmarked for 12 January. The event, called For U (yes, really), which right now has no details other than it’s date. Speculation about what the event will be about has run amok since the invitation was sent out last month. Everything from it’s latest series of mobile phones to smart watches has been suggested as potential subjects. Maybe we will see HTC diversify its VR offerings? After all, Google is doubling down on mobile VR with the recent announcement of Huawei’s Daydream headset.
Nothing is true, everything is permitted
Really, no-one is certain if this is true or not. HTC have not made any statement or responded to any queries from anyone who has reported on this story. However, many outlets are confident that it is a likely move. HTC has a strong mobile phone division, although it has seen a significant drop in market share last year. This move could strengthen both arms of their business. Until PC-based VR becomes more affordable, this is likely to be a smart more to make sure VR is making money for the company and keeping the dream of VR alive within the company.