MWC 2015: HTC goes beyond mobile with the HTC Vive VR headset

HTC announced it is taking its design skills to the virtual world with the HTC Vive. In partnership with Valve, HTC will be launching a VR headset advertised as the most immersive ever.

(Image: HTC)

At CES 2015, HTC revealed its Connected Devices business unit is going to take HTC into four other areas beyond the smartphone. Its first Connected Entertainment device is going to be the HTC Vive virtual reality system.

I have to admit that this product caught me a bit off guard and I have absolutely no personal experience with VR to be able to judge whether I should be excited or not. While the HTC Vive is focused on gaming in partnership with Valve, I am most interested in what a future product could bring to the enterprise.

The partnership with Valve includes a massive ecosystem of gamers who are the sixth largest consumers of data globally. Valve helped develop the HTC Vive and it provides what is being described as the most immersive and premium VR experience on the market.

The HTC Vive will support full room scale for this immersive experience. The developer edition is set to launch in the spring with a consumer edition scheduled to launch before the 2015 holiday season.

As a ship designer, I began by creating drawings with plastic splines and pencils. Today we use computers to create 3D models and show our clients fly-throughs of their vessel before any steel is cut.

With a device like the HTC Vive, we could create the 3D model and then have clients virtually walk through the vessel and point out areas they want changed before drawings are developed and systems fully designed, saving clients millions of dollars.

The HTC Vive could be used to train people in an environment that is safe for them and for those actually working in a facility. Coursework could be completely interactive and people could learn faster with something closer to reality than we could ever provide on a drawing or show in a presentation.

While I am sure gamers and those looking to be entertained will love the HTC Vive and the partnership with Valve, I'm looking to the future when we get beyond entertainment. I may sneak in a game or two as well as we wait for this development though, but I won't take a virtual vacation to Mars.

The RE camera is part of HTC Connected Life, the HTC Grip belongs in the Connected Self segment, and the HTC Vive is the first Connected Entertainment device. We have yet to see an announcement from the Connected Home group, but I imagine that will be coming sometime this year as well.