HTC’s Vive headsets available for pre-order on February 29 and will ship in April

HTC’s Vive headsets available for pre-order on February 29 and will ship in April

Consumers will be able to pre-order HTC’s Vive VR headset from February 29, according to an interview with HTC’s CEO Cher Wang in The Daily Telegraph.

Those pre-order units are expected to ship in April. The Vive due for release is likely to be based on the second iteration of the company’s stab at VR, the Vive Pre, unveiled at CES earlier this month. The newer version has been “completely rebuilt” said a HTC spokesperson, featuring a new strap design and improved display.

The company said it will have interchangeable foam inserts to allow a more custom fit. There’s also a new front-facing camera, which HTC says will let you blend reality with VR, by bringing real physical elements into the virtual space, like drinking a drink, for example.

As we reported previously, the units were due for a limited release late in 2015, but for reasons undisclosed by the company that never happened.

HTC’s announcement comes hot-on-the-heels of Oculus announcing its price ($599) and a shipping date (March 28).

Last week, Sony’s own VR system, formerly Project Morpheus leaked onto Amazon Canada with a price-tag of $800. HTC will need to find a price point to make its own system a more compelling option than those being pushed by companies with more resources.

It’s a big bet for the Taiwanese multinational, especially after a dismal year financially. HTC posted an operating loss of $138 million in Q3 2015, slashed jobs and dropped out of Taiwan’s stock exchange.

With smartphone sales being eaten into by intense Chinese competition, this could be a make or break year for HTC.

HTC CEO Cher Wang: “We had to rethink phones as a company. VR is more important.” [The Telegraph]

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