HTC delays widespread commercial launch of Vive VR headset to 2016

HTC's Vive virtual reality headset will not have a widespread commercial launch in 2015, as initially planned, with the launch slipping into 2016. HTC had previously said the Vive would be commercially released by year-end. 

HTC partnered with VR firm Valve on the device, which HTC first unveiled in March at Mobile World Congress. In a press release announcing the company's presence at the PAX Prime expo, Valve said that "HTC will offer the first commercial Vive units via a limited quantity of community and developer systems" later this year, "with larger quantities shipping in calendar Q1 2016." Developer units have been available for free since May, notes The Verge.

An HTC representative confirmed Valve's announcement to Re/code but declined to add anything else. 

The Vive features 70 sensors to provide a full 360-degree tracking and uses Valve's Steam VR tracking and input technologies. HTC has said it is working with partners like HBO and Lionsgate on the device. 

Earlier this month HTC said it plans to cut 15 percent of its workforce and slash operating expenses by 35 percent. HTC said it will cut about 2,250 jobs by the end of this year as part of its restructuring plan. The company has struggled to revive its smartphone sales even as it has branched into new product categories like its Re camera for taking photos and videos on the go, a wearable band for fitness aficionados and, of course, VR. In July HTC pushed back the launch of the Grip fitness band to the second half of the year.

HTC said this month that it "continues to invest in promising new product areas such as virtual reality, where the company is working with over 1,000 developers on content creation over a wide spectrum of applications including gaming, entertainment and education, to ensure a compelling ecosystem ahead of the highly anticipated launch of HTC Vive at the end of the year." HTC is hoping the Vive will help it attract interest from video game enthusiasts and developers.

As Re/code notes, the staggered rollout of the HTC Vive means that it will be in direct competition with its closest direct competitor, Facebook's (NASDAQ: FB) Oculus Rift VR headset, which is also expected to commercially launch in the first quarter of 2016. Both gadgets work by connecting to high-powered gaming PCs.

Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics Gear VR is expected to launch commercially by year-end, Nokia's (NYSE:NOKIA) Ozo VR camera is expect to be released in the fourth quarter and Sony's Project Morpheus PS4 headset is expected to hit the market in the first half of 2016.

For more:
- see this The Verge article 
- see this Re/code article
- see this AndroidAuthority article 

Related articles:
Video, virtual reality and vehicle connectivity are paving the way to 5G
Lenovo, HTC to slash jobs as Android smartphone makers struggle
Nokia lays groundwork for re-entry into consumer devices
HTC to cut jobs, slim down smartphone portfolio after weak Q2
HTC debuts One M9, Grip fitness tracker and enters virtual reality market

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