HTC’s wi-fi Vive Air headset outed by a untimely award

HTC’s subsequent main product-reveal occasion is looming in Could, however for at the least one in all its upcoming VR merchandise, the shock has been spoiled—by an award, of all issues.

The IF World Design Information Awards, held in Germany for many years and bestowed upon many disciplines, launched its newest pool of winners earlier this month. It is unclear when HTC’s new “Vive Air” VR headset was uploaded to IF World’s awards listing, however its look started making the rounds on Monday after photos appeared on Discord chat feeds, after which the award itself was discovered by VR critics Cas and Chary.

As described on its award web page:

VIVE Air VR headset is specifically designed for digital health, optimized for top depth with lengthy use. Impressed by sports activities footwear, the brand new headset introduces knitted supplies to VR to offer unprecedented consolation and match. The breathable and quick-drying materials enhance air flow within the heated train. The progressive light-weight construction permits customers to neglect the presence of the head-mounted show to give attention to digital content material. The short-release design permits the elimination of ergonomic mushy parts for laundry.

Whereas the award collection’ many years of operation have established a repute for masking actual merchandise versus vaporware, the Vive Air might very properly return into hiding for any variety of causes—so do not seize your pre-order cash simply but. Nonetheless, this leak follows a current HTC announcement of ViveCON 2021, scheduled for this Could 11-12 as a livestreamed occasion, and a headset that appears like a real rival to Oculus’s common Quest {hardware}—standalone, no PC, no wires, no “tracker” bins—would certain make a splash at a two-day occasion, particularly after 2019’s uneven Vive Cosmos.

HTC representatives didn’t instantly reply to questions in regards to the award’s legitimacy.

Perks for any VR use case, actually

HTC has just lately introduced different VR equipment, however since an early-2020 announcement of varied new headset ideas, the producer has gone comparatively darkish on the new-headset entrance. Contemplating the Vive Air award mentions a “2021” launch window, its inclusion in ViveCON 2021 appears doubtless, although HTC could very properly have further headset bulletins subsequent month. That would even embody the Magic Leap-like HTC Proton, however resulting from that gadget’s mixture of excessive ambition and paltry proof of real-world existence so far, I am not getting my hopes up.

The award’s gray-and-neon-yellow photos line up with the above fitness-first description, as this VR headset mannequin definitely resembles a pair of cross-training sneakers. That aspiration additionally aligns with a serious section of the VR software program ecosystem: health. Prior to now two years, the wi-fi Oculus Quest headset line has seen a large uptick in “coach” apps, which ask gamers to maneuver their head and arms via varied rhythm-timed rings, orbs, and contours—successfully simulating conventional cardiovascular exercise routines.

And as described, a complete {hardware} revision designed for health might be a feather in HTC’s cap after shedding a lot gross sales floor to different VR rivals. I would actually like to see perks like detachable materials, elevated breathability, and higher weight distribution for any VR use case. What advantages health definitely advantages hours-long dives into beefy video games like Inhabitants One and Half-Life: Alyx. Hopefully, ViveCON 2021 does not depart us hanging on essential Vive Air questions like specs, wired-VR choices, and value.

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