HTC unveils consumer edition of Vive

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HTC, in partnership with Valve, has unveiled the consumer edition of the Vive virtual reality system powered by Steam VR. The complete system will retail for $799 and will ship from April 1st. In just a week, on Monday February 29, pre-orders will go live.

The delivery will include the Vive headset, two wireless controllers, 360 degree tracking, and room scale movement sensors.

The consumer edition comes with a new feature, HTC Phone Services enabling users to stay connected to the real world while inside virtual reality. Isolation from the real world and the inability to interact with it while in virtual reality has been a problem point for virtual reality technology. So far, HTC has come up with two solutions. At CES in January the company demonstrated the Vive Pre’s front-facing camera and Chaperone system, which keep users from bumping into things while walking around a room inside virtual reality. And now the consumer edition incorporates phone functionality.

“Phone Services demonstrates the ability to combine both realities without losing touch of either. By allowing you to receive and respond to both incoming and missed calls, get text messages and send quick replies and check upcoming calendar invites directly through the headset, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities for both consumers and businesses,” states the company in a blog post.

Initially the HTC Vive will ship with two fully-fledged VR experiences Job Simulator and Fantastic Contraption.

HTC is not focusing on content for gaming only. The company is collaborating with developers to create content for retail, education, design, healthcare and automotive in addition to content for entertainment.

“From the beginning, Vive has been at the forefront of virtual reality, with HTC pioneering several ground breaking technologies,” comments Cher Wang, chairwoman and CEO, HTC.

“Since announcing Vive this time last year, we have worked tirelessly with Valve to deliver the best VR experience on the market, winning multiple awards and receiving critical acclaim from media, consumers and the industry. With the Vive consumer edition we are now able to realize our ultimate vision; bringing Vive into homes around the globe so that people can experience immersive virtual reality in a way that fires the imagination and truly changes the world.”