In a special press event today at CES 2017, HTC Vive debuted two new accessories for its VR headset. ‘The Vive Tracker’ is a motion sensor that brings physical objects into virtual space. The circular sensor is smaller than the size of a Vive controller.
HTC Vive says the new Tracker can be attached to any physical object via USB and offers 6 hours of battery life in full charge.
It weighs just under three ounces (85 g.) and comes in 99.65mm x 42.27mm sizes. The Vive Tracker will be shipped by the second quarter of 2017 but there is no word on the final consumer price yet.
During the demo hour, Vive showcased a variety of Tracker-enabled accessories, including the first VR camera, multiple rifles built for VR shooters, haptic gloves for VR, and training applications for Major League Baseball players and professional firefighters.
The Vive Deluxe Audio Strap is a set of integrated earphones that can be attached to Vive headsets. The earphones come with a customizable sizing dial for easy adjustment.
The new Audio Strap will be shipped to retailers in the second quarter of 2017. HTC will announce the pricing in a later date.
“Vive is much more than hardware. Our goal is to build the largest VR platform in the world,” said Daniel O’Brien General Manager US and EMEA Vive.
During the press conference O’Brien told us that in 2017 the company will concentrate on growing the existing VR ecosystem. Entertainment, health, education and enterprise are the major sectors that the company is planning to mostly focus on.
By 2016 HTC Vive has over 1000 VR experiences available to use with the VR headset system. O’Brien says on average there are 30 new experiences are launched.
HTC Vive expects the total number of available applications to reach 3,000 by the end of 2017.
HTC is partnering with Intel for wireless VR
Wireless VR experience is another challenge that the company will tackle in 2017. O’Brien said that HTC Vive has partnered with Intel to bring wireless tetherless headset experience.
In addition, Vive showcased TPCast, another wireless adaptor 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. HTC Vive says a five-hour XL battery will be available at a later date.
Viveport launches Netflix-Style VR Subscription Service For Arcade and Enterprise Customers
Viveport will launch a monthly subscription service in early 2017. The new service is designed to help customers navigate the burgeoning market for VR apps as well as introduce a new channel through which VR developers can monetize their content.
“We are reducing the distance between the real world and imaginary world. We want consumers to find everyting on Viveport,” said Rikard Steiber, President of Viveport. “We want to give VR developers as many ways as possible to monetize and feature their content, and this is yet another channel for them to reach new customers on Viveport,” he added.
The company is also expanding services for enterprise VR customers and arcade operators by launching dedicated VR app stores for professionals in 2017.