HTC Vive has been teasing us for a while with its #GowiththeFlow campaign ahead of today's launch. Now we know that the new VR headset is indeed called the Vive Flow, which HTC describes as, 'A compact, lightweight immersive glasses device that transports its wearers wherever they want or need to be – anytime, anywhere. Designed with comfort and portability in mind, VIVE Flow lets people find moments of calm and well-being for themselves throughout the day'.
The key phrase that stands out for us is 'immersive glasses' - in fact, the official information doesn't specifically reference VR, other than a passing mention in the quotes and use cases.
It seems the Flow is intended for more relaxed, less demanding use cases than virtual gaming.
It seems the Flow is intended for more relaxed, less demanding use cases than virtual gaming. To that end, the specs make no mention of a processor, although the presentation did refer to an 'XR focused processor'. Just as we speculated, it's intended to pair with a smartphone as a controller for Viveport apps and streaming content such as TV and films via Miracast. The Flow works with Android devices that support HDCP 2.2, but iPhones are notable by their absence.
The 100-degree field of view is broadly in line with most existing headsets, while the display has a claimed resolution of 3.2K and a 75 Hz refresh rate. Featuring full 3D spatial audio, Vive Flow can also connect to external Bluetooth earphones. Built-in diopter dials allow users to easily make adjustments for crystal clear visuals, while an active cooling system pulls warm air away from your face.
Designed for use outside of the home as much as in it, the glasses weigh 189g, which is about a quarter of the Vive Focus 3. The dual-hinge design enables the Flow to fold down for transportation, while the soft face gasket takes inspiration from the Focus 3, with magnetic connections making it easy to change.
A carry case and external battery will be made available as optional extras.
HTC is taking technology in a new direction, focusing not on what we do, but on how we feel.Cher Wang
In HTC's own words, 'VIVE Flow is designed to help people nurture their minds, relax and have fun on a daily basis, and go with the flow'. Suggested use cases include meditation, immersive road trips, watching TV or movies on a cinema-sized VR screen, brain training apps, work meetings and socialising with friends online. Launch content partners include TRIPP and MyndVR.
“With VIVE Flow, HTC is taking technology in a new direction, focusing not on what we do, but on how we feel. Maintaining our wellness has come to the forefront in the last few years, with so many millions feeling stressed every day, so it has never been more important to take time out to calm our minds, and VIVE Flow provides the perfect opportunity to escape our four walls and immerse ourselves in our ideal ambience,” said Cher Wang, Chairwoman and CEO of HTC.
There will be a special Viveport subscription plan priced at USD $5.99 per month, giving unlimited access to apps covering well-being, brain training, productivity, light gaming, and exclusive content.
Vive Flow retails for $499/£499 and is available to pre-order from today, October 14th. Pre-orders will also receive the official carry case and seven pieces of content. Sales will begin in November.