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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

HTC is prepping a lightweight Meta Quest competitor for CES


In a nutshell: HTC is preparing to introduce a new AR / VR headset that will go toe to toe with Meta’s $1,500 Quest Pro and perhaps eventually, Apple’s long-rumored visor. HTC global head of product Shen Ye told The Verge that their goal with the wearable, which will be properly unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show next month, was to create a small and light all-in-one that doesn’t skimp on features.

A teaser shared with the publication depicts a goggles-style headset with front and side-mounted cameras that doesn’t look too terribly different from the enterprise-focused Magic Leap 2. Ye said the self-contained headset will afford around two hours of battery life and support controllers with six degrees of freedom as well as hand tracking.

The multi-purpose goggles will be ideal for gaming, entertainment, exercise, productivity and enterprise use, the executive added.

Like the new Meta Quest Pro, the HTC headset is able to pass a color video feed from the front-facing camera to the screens for mixed reality experiences. HTC has additionally baked in a depth sensor – a feature not present on Meta’s headset – that could enable enhanced tracking and mapping capabilities. Ye also teased potentially better dynamic range from HTC’s upcoming offering, making it possible to read text on a digital screen through the device.

Pricing was not revealed but based on Ye’s comments, The Verge doesn’t expect it to come cheap. The pub said it wouldn’t be surprised if it lands somewhere between the $500 and $1,300 mark, the launch price for the HTC Vive Flow and Vive Focus 3, respectively.

HTC distanced itself from the consumer market in 2021, electing instead to focus more on enterprise users. But with Apple and Meta gearing up to compete for market share in the consumer AR / VR space, HTC seemingly doesn’t want to miss the opportunity to be a third major player in the battle.

CES 2023 kicks off on January 5 and runs through January 8 in Las Vegas.



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