This news comes right as HTC debuts the "Vive Focus" standalone VR headset for other markets (aka not the US). While details are still unclear of how it'll work, the unit contains a Snapdragon 835 VR CPU as well as a high-resolution AMOLED screen. "Now you can essentially do most of the things that you could do on a high-end machine on a standalone".
Needing no phone, HTC is relying on the Snapdragon 835 VR development kit, an all-in-one VR headset built by Qualcomm (makers of nearly every processor on Android phones) that basically bundles in the hardware from a high-end smartphone with an AMOLED screen, 3D binaural audio, sensors, and motion tracking, all coming together for a single head mounted display.
Of particular interest, however, is what HTC has made with Google Daydream, shifting the support to be more than just another Daydream headset and supporting a new technology called Google WorldSense.
HTC said more than 100 developers are working on content for the Focus, but it didn't reveal any specifics. It's essentially Daydream but for China instead, meaning the Vive Focus is the VR headset we expected to come to the United Kingdom and U.S., but running Daydream instead.
Meanwhile, HTC has issued an invitation to VR/AR developers worldwide to participate in its Viveport Developer Awards, which will recognize creativity and innovation in that field, as the company continues its efforts to build its own VR ecosystem. On the software side, not only is it about optimizing performance for medium-level hardware to ensure sub-20ms latency, but it's also about making it as easy as possible for developers to port from Vive, Daydream or Samsung Gear VR.
In contrast to the USA and other Western markets, HTC Vive has a more stable foothold in China, which explains why HTC is dumping its resources there.
"Vive Wave is a clear step forward in bringing together the highly fragmented mobile VR market that has cropped up in China the last several years".
The headset will also benefit from access to a huge library of VR content through HTC's Viveport distribution portal.
Alongside this announcement, HTC also unleashed its new VR development platform, which will be utilised by the Focus. "No Daydream standalone from HTC, but we remain great partners", said Google VR and AR VP Clay Bavor in a tweet.
HTC has not given any pricing or release dates for the Focus but did say it would initially be available in only China.