HTC has unveiled its Long live the flow “immersive glasses”. The company has avoided calling it a “VR headset” because it is much lighter (189g) and portable (comes with a case, just like regular glasses). Senior Director and Global Head of Hardware Products at HTC, Shen Ye, explained the positioning of the product by drawing parallels with the PC industry. So while the Vive Pro 2 is like a desktop and the Focus 3 is like a laptop, the Flow is like a tablet. It is believed that the eminent portability of the Vive Flow will make it suitable for use cases where existing headsets would not be accepted. Interestingly, we see HTC targeting the meditation and wellness market with these new “glasses”.
The main activities that HTC expects Flow users to engage in include:
- Meditation 2.0 with apps like TRIPP, or take a scenic and immersive ride on Route 66 with the original MyndVR series: A Road to Remember
- Watch TV or movies on their own personal cinema-sized VR screen
- Exercise their mind with brain training apps
- Collaborate and socialize with colleagues and friends on VIVE Sync
The embedded video above contains sample use cases for HTC Flow.
HTC has shared a few technical details of the design, which are quite impressive. You will have already measured that one of the most impressive feats of this material is its light weight and compact design. Ye says two major strategies that contributed to this design goal were using dioptric lenses where the glasses would usually be placed, and narrowing the optical tube with a new lens and a new display assembly. Despite these challenges, the glasses still offer a field of view of 100 ° and a resolution of 3.2k (combined, or approximately 1600 × 1600 pixels per eye), with a refresh rate of 75 Hz. For reference, the Focus 3 and Pro 2 have a 120 ° field of view but are much larger and heavier. The Flow’s light weight allows it to be much more comfortable using traditional eyeglass ear rests rather than a strap.
HTC says the Flow, since it’s a standalone device (without power), uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 processor and includes 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of ROM. The glasses also offer 6DOF head tracking. Hand tracking is expected to arrive with a future update.
If you look closely at the design and some of the images, you will see that there is a “thermal system” which has the dual purpose of cooling the helmet and cooling the user’s face with air, thus preventing formation. fog on the lens. Another cool design feature is the USB power connector on the right arm of the glasses. HTC didn’t want to put a battery in this device, so it could reduce the weight, but thanks to the USB-C connector, you can easily power it through a common wall or garden charger, a USB port in public transport, a power bank (5 hours on 10,000 mAh) or even your phone. A very small battery in the glasses allows a hot swap of the power source (5 minutes of autonomy).
Instead of creating dedicated controllers for the Flow, HTC decided to make the controller a phone with a user sensor and equipped with Bluetooth (with 3DOF). The paired phone can optionally expand HTC Flow’s use with mirroring calls / texts / notifications, as well as mirroring much of the content you can get on your phone (with Miracast), offering DRM compatibility with many entertainment sources such as Netflix, Disney +, HBO Max, and more.
Speakers offering spatial sound are built into the ear cups of the device, and there are also twin microphones (with echo and noise reduction). For private listening and microphone alternatives, you can connect Bluetooth audio devices.
In an email to HEXUS, HTC said that those interested will be able to purchase the Vive Flow for £ 499 / from € 549 and for $ 499 from vive.com/vive-flow. If you order before the November release date, you will receive the official Vive Flow Carrying Case and a 7-piece gift set for free. Additionally, HTC would like users to consider a content subscription for Viveport at £ 5.29 per month (lots of apps, games etc).