Chialin Chang, chief financial officer at Taiwan-based HTC, said that the new headset will be compatible with the company’s new flagship smartphone, the U Ultra. But he did not go into further details, nor say whether the device would be shipping anytime soon.
But the device won’t be as simple as the Samsung Gear VR, which relies entirely upon the smartphone for computing purposes. Mobile VR has taken off more quickly than PC-based VR systems like HTC’s Vive headset, as Samsung recently announced it had shipped more than 5 million Gear VR units.
The new device would likely compete with the Samsung Gear VR as well as the Google Daydream View. Chang said that HTC plans to fill the gap between solutions like the Gear VR and PC-based systems. HTC actually manufactures the Google Pixel, the first Daydream View-compatible device.
In the spring of 2016, HTC launched its HTC Vive VR headset for PCs. Stephanie Llamas, analyst at SuperData Research, said in a statement that the Vive has pulled into the lead in the market so far.
In a statement, HTC added, “In a recent interview, Chialin Chang was referencing the idea that there are different ways to approach VR that span the full spectrum from truly mobile 360 to immersive room-scale like the Vive, and everything in between. As HTC, we’re better prepared than most companies to reach that full spectrum.”
Clearly, based on that statement, HTC isn’t ready to describe a product anytime soon.
“Consumer adoption is going to be driven by mobile, and HTC is making sure they help can both forward and participate in that growth,” Llamas said. “They’ve found a way to get back their relevance in mobile with the Pixel and U Ultra (the first phone with which their phone will be compatible), and to ride the wave of mobile VR.”
HTC sold about 420,000 Vive headsets in 2016, and SuperData expects it will sell about 1.34 million units in 2017.