Everyone was waiting for a new standalone HTC Vive device and it has arrived: it is called Vive Focus 3 Business Edition, and it is amazing, but strongly focused on Enterprise.
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2
- Display: Dual RGB low persistence LCD
- Resolution: 2448 × 2448 pixels per eye (5K total resolution)
- Refresh rate: 90Hz
- FOV: 120°
- 2x USB 3.2 Gen-1 Type-C peripheral port with OTG support
- Bluetooth 5.2 + BLE
- Wi-Fi 6
- Dual microphones with echo cancellation
- 2x Dual driver with patented directional speaker design
- Privacy Mode
- Hi-Res Certified 3.5mm audio jack output
- Ergonomically curved battery module mounted in the rear as counterweight
- Magnetically-attached front gasket and rear padding with easy to clean PU leather trim
- 150mm-wide facial interface accommodates wide eyeglasses
- Eye comfort adjustment supporting IPD range of 57mm to 72mm
- Tracking: Inside-out, with 4 tracking cameras, up to 7m x 7m play space
- Battery: 26.6Wh, hot-swappable
- Controllers: Touch-like controllers with rechargeable battery
- Hall sensors on Trigger and Grip buttons
- Capacitive sensors on Trigger, Joystick, and Thumb-rest area
- G-Sensor, Gyroscope
- Ergonomic Grip button
- Analog Trigger button
- AB / XY buttons
- System / Menu buttons
Price and Availability
VIVE Focus 3 will be on sale from 24 June, for £1060 / $1300 / €1180 + VAT (it includes 24 month VIVE Business Warranty and Services).
Description – Key Selling Points
I have already described the astonishing visuals that the Vive Pro 2 should provide and… well, they are the same here on the Vive Focus 3 BE! Great resolution, wide field of view, comfortable eye box, all the package is here too. The Vive Focus 3 BE will set a new quality standard for visuals in an enterprise headset.
The clear business-orientation is highlighted in some important features of this device:
- Its weight is balanced, so it can be worn for multiple hours by people doing a meeting or a training session. The 50/50 weight balance (50% on the front, 50% on the back) makes a huge difference in comfort;
- All the design, in general, is built around the comfort of the user, and this headset has even granular IPD settings, so you have no compromises like you have on the Quest 2;
- All the cushions that touch the user can be easily removed so that the headset can be sanitized;
- The frame is not made in plastic but in magnesium alloy, that should be 20% lighter and 500% stronger than traditional plastics, meaning that this headset could be used for many hours at work without breaking;
- There is a new cooling system that makes the headset exploit all 100% of the power of the XR2 chipset;
- The battery of the headset has an external indicator to verify the charge, and this is crucial for instance for LBVR operators. The battery is hot-swappable, so LBVR centers can continue using the same Focus all day, just changing batteries on the fly. The battery has a fast charge feature, and in 30 minutes it can already charge at 50% of its full power;
- The audio speakers are integrated, but much attention has been given to the quality of the sounds they emit. And most importantly, they have a special “privacy” mode that reduces a lot what the other people in your same room can hear about what you are doing in VR. Basically, the headset emits a soundwave towards your ears and the opposite wave towards the external space: the result is that while you hear the VR music, the other people receive these two opposite waves that basically cancel themselves and so they hear almost nothing of what you’re doing. HTC markets it as a feature so that people having VR meetings or VR playing sessions in a LBVR close to each other don’t disturb each other… but we all know that this has been done only for porn. Admit it, HTC;
- HTC also promises that the tracking algorithm has been completely revamped from the Vive Focus Plus and now it works on par with the one of its competitors;
- The headset has strong attention on privacy, and all the tracked data is only used on the device, and they are encrypted so it is impossible to access them. For the same reason, at the moment (it is an ongoing discussion) passthrough vision is not enabled in the SDK, because it would let 3rd parties access the images of the environment of your company;
- The controllers have been re-designed, and now follow the industry standard of having the same layout as the Oculus Touch. The battery is rechargeable and every charge lasts for 15 hours. Hand tracking support is coming in the future;
- The headset can be attached to a PC to be used as a tethered headset. Support for Wi-fi streaming is coming in the future (This is a business feature added separately: see below)
As you can see the list of improvements over the previous model and also over other competitors is very long. This is a headset that is truly innovating the market.
Just selling the hardware without any software wouldn’t be a good idea for a company aiming at the B2B market, so Vive has also launched a whole new Business software ecosystem. Let me copy-paste this boring part from the press release:
VIVE Business is a complete suite of software and services, supporting the needs of businesses looking to get the best out of XR. No matter the organisation’s size, VIVE Business is scalable and secure, making life easier for deployment, maintenance, remote support, training needs, and much more.
The VIVE Business Device Management System is a simple and intuitive MDM and is ISO certified, allowing IT to quickly and easily see the status of each VIVE Focus 3 on the network, remotely install new business apps, update software, and more. VIVE Focus 3 is designed to work with Android Enterprise MDM, so it can also slot into pre-existing MDM solutions already active in your environment.
Building on the success of the consumer VIVEPORT store, the VIVE Business AppStore is a curated collection of apps and tools, covering diverse areas like training, communication, visualisation, and more. It’s simple to pick an app off-the-shelf, or even get in touch with the creator to tailor it for specific needs.
VIVE Business Training is perfect to support training sessions of any size. The training leader can observe the progress of each trainee, via an Android device, highlighting the next steps needed and talking the trainee through it, even in a class size of hundreds. VIVE Business Streaming supports connecting VIVE Focus 3 to a PC via a cable, with fully wireless streaming support coming in the future. VIVE Business will see new tools and features added in the future, delivering a continuously updated powerful suite of business solutions.
VIVE gives control back to businesses. Organisations can choose to take up VIVE Business services, or they can simply pay a one-off cost for VIVE Focus 3 and integrate it into their existing setup, with no recurring fees and the ability to use their hardware as they choose to.
Meet in VR with realistic avatars to discuss business, host presentations, examine 3D models, teach a class, and more with VIVE Sync. Originally built as an internal communications tool to support collaboration on product design, VIVE Sync was launched in Beta in June 2020. Now, having been used in almost 100 countries around the world, VIVE Sync is launching in Pro and Enterprise versions, offering different new environments, tools, and ways to interact. Bring everyday files into VR, from Microsoft PowerPoint presentations through to 3D formats.
Here the feature that is worth a highlight is the Business AppStore: the Focus 3 Business Edition doesn’t feature Viveport M, but a store completely dedicated to the enterprise segment, with applications offered by selected partners through an ISV (Independent Software Vendor) program. This means that if you are building an enterprise-oriented VR solution, you could contact HTC and be published in this special store to increase your commercial opportunities. It’s a good opportunity both for who offers and who is looking for enterprise solutions.
Comment: this is the HoloLens of standalone VR headsets
While I was listening to the presentation of the Vive Focus 3 Business Edition, I could only think “Wow”. On paper, this looks like the new king of standalone devices. It ticks all the boxes, from comfort, to resolution, to fast charge, ergonomic controllers, streaming from PC… everything that a company would need from a standalone headset is there. It lacks eye tracking, but I would bet that 7Invensun will probably release an add-on to offer it soon. Especially the resolution and the FOV crush completely the competition of Quest and Pico Neo 3: when HTC told me that this headset was going to feature the same display and optics as the Pro 2, I couldn’t believe it. Companies needing astonishing visuals will probably buy this one without even thinking. Even all the software package is very well-conceived to help companies in performing their work in VR, and it is very positive that you are not forced to buy it (like in Oculus For Business), but you get it only if you need it.
All of this package is also in a wonderful new design, that is cool and lightweight. All these features together make the Vive Focus 3 a very compelling solution for companies.
It reminds me a lot of the HoloLens 2: a VR headset superior in specifications to all its competitors but with a price so high that is devoted only to big corporates. The Focus 3 BE is probably the best standalone for a company that wants to implement VR in its production processes. Of course, we are just talking about what we can see on paper, and I hope to try it soon, but if it actually delivers what it promises (especially regarding the precision of the tracking of the controllers), this is an unbeatable headset. BUT it is incredibly expensive: $1300 is almost double the cost of the Pico Neo 3, which costs $699, and is anyway a very good headset. This is not only an enterprise headset, this is a premium enterprise headset.
This has clearly been a strategic decision, and when speaking with HTC, I’ve told them that the market will tell them if they’ve made the right choice. I mean, when you price a device so high, it means that you want to position yourself in the market in a completely different way than Pico or Facebook. You want to target big corporates, exactly as Microsoft is doing, you want to offer the very best for a lot of money. Is this what companies really want? Maybe yes, maybe no… I guess we will discover this in the next months. For sure it is interesting that HTC is aiming at something different, and from the sale numbers in the next 6 months, we will discover if companies prefer a solid headset with an enterprise price like the Neo 3 or a super headset with a super price like the Focus 3. Or maybe they will have both good sales numbers because they are targeting different target segments.
I for sure wish good luck to HTC for its new device!
Goodbye Vive Focus Plus
As a last note, let me say something very personal. The Vive Focus Plus has been a special headset for me. It was the one for which we of New Technology Walkers made our first true game, HitMotion: Reloaded, that was even one of its 20+ launch titles. Now, this headset will be superseded by this new Focus 3, and this makes me a bit sad, also because with no more pass-through and no more consumers, probably our game should find a new house. But thanks Vive Focus Plus for what you have done for me! Being there in Shenzhen at your launch, presenting our game, has been a special experience!
You can discover more of the device at this page: vive.com/vive focus3