Strap on the Vive Tracker to your next accessory and bring it into VR.
It was only a year ago that HTC revealed their Vive Pre headset to attendees at CES. And if 2016 was the year VR had its coming out party, 2017 is looking to be the year we see VR content ecosystem really grow and hardware accessories take shape.
During a press conference at CES on Wednesday, HTC debuted two premium accessories that will be available later this year — the Vive Tracker and Vive Deluxe Audio Strap. The Vive Tracker is HTC’s new puck-like answer to providing more options for developers creating immersive experiences that may want additional tracking capabilities and new peripherals. The Vive Deluxe Audio Strap is HTC’s answer to an integrated earphone into the headset, cleaning up the design and making everything just a little bit more convenient.
The Vive Tracker enables motion tracking for entirely new form factors to be trackable within the VR world, helping create a foundation for what could be a potentially very large accessory ecosystem for the Vive. At CES, Vive demonstrated 8 Vive Tracker integrations, showcasing VR experiences that tracked everything from a baseball bat, rifle, firehose and even a camera to snap photos.
The Vive Tracker measures roughly 10cm wide (just a little smaller than the head of the existing controller), is attached by a universal screw, and has an estimated 6-hour battery life. The three ounce tracking puck is expected to integrate with any number of future VR accessories via a simple connection an will ship in Q2 with pricing announced at a later date.
To foster development of new VR accessories, Vive will also be giving away up to 1,000 Trackers to developers. Application information will be released at a later date.
“To foster the long-term growth of VR, we want to make it even easier for developers to prototype and market more immersive controllers and accessories,” said Daniel O’Brien, GM, US and EMEA, Vive. “The Vive Tracker is the first step in growing an ecosystem of third-party accessories that will change how we interact with virtual experiences and provide consumers and businesses with an unlimited amount of content opportunities.”
Vive Deluxe Audio Strap
The Vive Deluxe Audio Strap is designed with adjustable headphones, allowing you to enjoy 360-degree VR audio with even more comfort and convenience. The headstrap features integrated headphones and a new customizable sizing dial for quickly adjusting the fit of the headstrap, ensuring a tighter and more comfortable fit according to HTC.
“We’ve continuously improved the core Vive experience, making it more comfortable and easier to use,” said O’Brien. “The Deluxe Audio Strap evolves this mission further, offering a seamless audio solution that also fits more comfortably for Vive users.”
The Deluxe Audio Strap will ship to retailers in Q2, and will be available to order on Vive.com. Pricing will be announced at a later date.
Wireless and VR
In addition to their latest hardware announcements at CES today, Vive also announced that it expects commercial wireless VR adapters to ship in 2017.
“Our approach to wireless and VR is the same approach that we’ve taken with the Vive – wireless will be open-standard and we look forward to supporting any company that can demonstrate a low-latency solution to wireless VR,” said O’Brien. “We are confident that wireless VR will be a significant contributor to the Vive ecosystem in 2017.”
Vive showcased TPCast, which was incubated through the Vive X accelerator program. It includes a one and a half hour battery, and latency as low as 2ms. TPCast will be shipping in the second quarter of 2017 and will retail for $249 USD. A five-hour XL battery will be available at a later date.
Stay tuned for more updates throughout the week as we cover VR at CES 2017.