HTC has updated the Vive Focus system to display phone notifications, a feature that’s part of the company’s version 2.0 update to the software that powers the Vive Focus standalone VR headset. While this isn’t the only new change that is being introduced with the software it is one of the first things highlighted by HTC. It also provides users a way to establish a link between the world they’re escaping to in virtual reality and the real world outside of virtual reality that connects them to friends, family, work, school, and anything else in their social, professional, or educational lives.
If you fancy the idea of getting these sorts of notifications in the Vive Focus interface while you’re immersed in VR, which includes phone calls, text messages, and social notifications, you’ll need an HTC device to do so, though it’s not necessarily limited to the HTC U12 Plus, the latest smartphone from the company that was just announced earlier this week.
HTC does however highlight the U12 Plus in relation to the integration so it’s not entirely clear if this is a U12 Plus-specific improvement or not. In addition to integrating HTC devices with the Vive Focus, integration should also work with PC-based Vive headsets, but HTC doesn’t mention any specifics as to whether or not the feature from that integration will be the same as they are with the Vive Focus.
To use these new integration features an HTC device is one requirement, but device owners will also need to make sure they have the most up to date version of the companion app, which HTC says will be available in its official app store and the Tencent app store. Vive Focus is also gaining the ability to allow users to immerse themselves in virtual reality content while in a moving vehicle with a new feature called Passenger Mode.
This is obviously intended for those who are in the vehicle but not driving, and will enable use of the headset in a way that HTC designed specifically for a seated position while in a moving vehicle. Passenger Mode will also allow for movie viewing without tracking constraints for up to a four-hour period, or users can just switch over to Surroundings Mode if they want to keep the headset on yet still view the outside world around them.
Another benefit will be the inclusion of expandable storage support. Prior to this update all content had to be installed directly onto the headset itself, but now users will be able to insert a microSD card and install games and other content onto it as well as the storage from the headset, and if users want to purchase new content then they’ll be able to use major credit cards going forward thanks to HTC’s addition of the support for these cards.