HTC’s Approach to Virtual Reality
So many eyes are fixed on the high-ends as HTC and Oculus present their products to the market. However, quite a number of companies also have eyes fixed on the mass market. HTC says it wants to complete the high-end first then in future develop mobile VR.
“Right now, is mobile VR in our thinking? Absolutely. But we are not going to launch it just because other people launch it and compromise. We want to make sure that when we do that there’s an absolute differentiation from what everyone else is doing,” HTC’s AVP of product planning, Nigel Newby-House told reporters at a press briefing held recently. “I think we have got the platform on the high-end to do that. It just might take a little bit of time, but we will get there.”
Manufacturers like HTC and Oculus are at the top currently in the virtual reality market. However, other devices like PlayStation’s upcoming headset should shake up the fast growing industry. As VR becomes more known, a strong distinct between the high-end and mass-market is obvious. While high-end handsets can exceed $500 easily, mass-market handsets could be $200 or even as inexpensive as a few dollars.
HTC Vive got uncommon reviews for its sophisticated hardware, however, pundits critique that its software cannot be said to possess a high-end experience. HTC accepts that the Vive is for the early adopter and tech enthusiasts who have no problem with the high-end growing pains. Companies with focus on VR need to straighten quite a number of kinks that make VR a largely incomplete product in order to solicit to the mass-market.
“The way HTC is approaching this we want to bring the gold standard. What we want to do is to top-down. Some want to go mass market first. But if you are going to do low-cost, you are not going to get the experience,” Newby-House said.
“What we want to do is hone the best quality VR experience and then fathom out how we are going to bring that same experience down to more affordable price points.”
VR headsets shipments should reach 9.6 million units in 2016, with more than 2 million of those units being high-end devices like the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR, according to the IDC. Consumers are already thinking less expensive and more convenient to acquire. Smartphones are all around, regardless of the ecstasy behind the Vive and Rift, VR is anticipated to explode via mobile.
“The mass market is the smartphone market. Smartphones are all being upgraded to be VR devices. For the VR community one thing that is actually great is the fact that the sales of mobile phones have kind of plateaued,” Brad Allen, executive chairman of Next VR told iDigitalTimes. “Now they are trying to sell more phones and that happens to be VR.”
The smartphone market is evolving to the stage where even manufacturers such as Apple are going through fall in sales and profit losses. HTC introduced the HTC 10 in April. The smartphone has gotten positive preliminary reactions, the commercial success is yet to be seen.
VR can help to increase the lifespan of smartphone market. A number of manufacturers are dealing with VR in different ways which contribute to producing VR headsets smaller, lighter and more accessible.