Last May, Google said it was working with two companies–HTC Vive and Lenovo–on standalone Daydream VR headsets. The hardware would be the first featuring Google’s WorldSense system, offering positional tracking without any wires.
Today, both Google and HTC confirmed there are no longer any plans for a standalone Daydream Vive device. Instead, HTC says, it is focusing its standalone efforts on the Chinese market and on a system called the Vive Focus, which was just released in Beijing today.
A Google spokesperson says plans are still in place for a Lenovo Daydream standalone headset.
Standalone headsets with positional tracking allow users to physically move around in virtual environments rather than simply being in the center of a 360-degree scene. Low-end and mobile VR systems such as Samsung’s Gear VR and Google’s own Cardboard and Daydream View offer the latter, while higher-end systems like PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, and HTC’s Vive offer the former. Oculus recently showed the latest version of its Santa Cruz standalone prototype, which also features positional tracking.
The news that Vive will not be producing a standalone headset for Google is disappointing, especially as VR enthusiasts get ready for a second generation of hardware that gets rid of cumbersome wires. Having more choice is a good thing, and it’s curious that HTC has decided to put its efforts into the Chinese market.
“We still have a great relationship with Google,” a HTC spokesperson said, “but will not be bringing a standalone device to Western markets on Daydream. We’re looking closely at our hardware roadmap, and will share when there is more to come for Western users next year.”