HTC to start to ship Vive Pro in early April

Taipei, Taiwan-based smartphone brand HTC Corp., which has been trying to penetrate the global virtual reality market, will begin shipping an upgraded Vive VR headset -- the Vive Pro -- on a global basis on April 5.

The Vive Pro, which was unveiled in early January at the Consumer Electronics Show 2018 in Las Vegas, carries a price tag of US$799 in the U.S. market and NT$24,988 (US$856) in Taiwan, and the first shipments will follow a global pre-order sale of the device that began Monday.

According to HTC, the Vive Pro offers specifications that improve on the Vive and will enhance the immersive experience for VR players.

It is equipped with dual OLED displays, providing 78-percent better resolution than that found on the existing Vive's head-mounted display.

The upgraded model also features high-performance headphones with a built-in amplifier that offers a heightened sense of presence and richer sound.

After the Vive Pro goes on sale globally, HTC will mark down the price of the Vive headset by US$100 to US$499 in the U.S. market and to NT$16,800 in Taiwan.

Consumers who buy the Vive Pro on or before June 3 will be eligible to use services provided by Viveport, a Vive app store that provides users with content for the VR headset, for free for six months, the company said.

Those who purchase the device on June 4 or later will be eligible to subscribe to Viveport's content for free for two months.

According to HTC, Viveport and SteamVR currently provide more than 3,000 types of content for the Vive series in the entertainment, education and art fields, and some content also caters to amusement park owners and business users.

SteamVR is a content platform under the U.S. video game supplier Valve, which jointly developed the Vive with HTC.

Along with the launch of the Vive Pro, HTC has also unveiled the Vive Wireless Adaptor for use with both the Vive and the Vive Pro to connect wirelessly to a nearby PC.

The new adapter makes use of Intel-developed Wireless Gigabit Alliance technology, which enables it to operate in the interference-free 60Ghz band with lower latency but better performance.

HTC entered the VR business when it introduced the Vive in 2015 and launched global sales in April 2016 to diversify its product portfolio and add sales to offset the adverse impact of escalating competition in the global smartphone market.

Despite HTC's VR efforts, however, it continues to incur losses, with VR still accounting for only a small fraction of the company's revenue.

The company reported a net loss for the 10th straight quarter in the third quarter of 2017, posting a loss per share of NT$3.8.

Shares of HTC closed down 0.64 percent on Tuesday at NT$62.00 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, where the benchmark Taiex finished down 0.33 percent at 11,010.84.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel