HTC made a not so delicate tease in the present day new model of the HTC Vive is on the best way with improved decision. While it doesn’t appear like this can be positioned as a ‘Vive 2’, right here’s what we may see from a ‘Vive 1.5’ when it debuts subsequent week at CES on January eighth.

Which New Display?

The present Vive mannequin, launched in 2016, has a pair of 1,080 × 1,200 shows made by Samsung. Samsung launched their very own PC VR headset, the Odyssey, on the finish of 2017, which makes use of 1,440 × 1,600 shows; it’s possible that HTC will use those self same shows in a Vive 1.5.

An upgraded Samsung show looks like the most certainly risk, however there’s an alternative choice at play which may convey extra than simply improved decision: a Vive 1.5 may use Valve’s new show and lens tech for VR, which it introduced final 12 months. The firm mentioned that new calibration software program makes low-cost LCD shows viable for high-end VR headsets.

Valve Says New Calibration Software Makes Lower-Cost LCD Panels Viable for High-End VR

That may assist the Vive compete on value towards the Rift, which is now $400 to the Vive’s $600 MSRP. Valve says the identical optics will be paired with OLED shows as properly, although they’re usually dearer; the corporate is promoting the tech to be used in SteamVR headsets just like the Vive.

SteamVR Tracking 2.0?

Valve designed SteamVR Tracking (previously known as Lighthouse), the room-scale monitoring system employed by the Vive. Over the course of 2017, Valve has been revealing data on ‘SteamVR Tracking 2.0’, a revamped and improved model of the system, which is anticipated to convey diminished value and improved efficiency, together with enormous monitoring volumes with greater than two base stations.

SteamVR Tracking 2.0 Will Support ~33×33 Foot Playspaces With 4 Base Stations

Gauging whether or not or not SteamVR Tracking 2.0 will make it right into a Vive 1.5 is a troublesome name. On one hand, it might make sense, particularly if it permits HTC to additional scale back the price of the headset—SteamVR Tracking 2.0 is claimed to make use of fewer elements and have a simplified design, probably lowering manufacturing and assist prices. That helps with HTC’s backside line which is necessary as the corporate is primarily a producer, and particularly so given the corporate’s latest monetary troubles.

On the opposite hand, this may doubtless require a extra vital remodeling of the manufacturing course of, and if the corporate launched the headset with SteamVR Tracking 2.0 base stations, these can be incompatible with the unique Vive—which might be a seemingly extra acceptable transfer for a ‘Vive 2’ than a ‘Vive 1.5’.

The doubtless potentialities are that SteamVR Tracking 2.0 isn’t included in any respect in a Vive 1.5, or that the headset and controllers make use of the SteamVR Tracking 2.0 sensors, however proceed to be shipped with the 1.0 base stations.

The latter would guarantee forward-compatibility with SteamVR Tracking 2.0 base stations after they arrive however be sure that all base stations out within the ecosystem work with all present Vive’s (for the reason that SteamVR Tracking 2.0 base station solely helps the 2.0 sensors, however the 2.0 sensors assist 1.0 base stations). That would keep away from fragmenting the monitoring techniques till a Vive 2 hits.

Image courtesy Valve

Knuckles Controllers?

picture courtesy Valve

Another piece of anticipated tech for the Vive is Valve’s ‘Knuckles’, controllers which the corporate debuted final 12 months and has been refining ever since. We would like to see these new controllers—that are mentioned to be a giant step ahead over the present Vive ‘wands’—ship with a Vive 1.5.

Valve’s Knuckles Controllers Get Ergonomic Improvements, Begin Arriving at Devs’ Doorsteps

From a advertising and marketing standpoint, nevertheless, model new controllers really feel like extra of a ‘Vive 2’ transfer. Especially as a result of they aren’t simply an ergonomic enchancment, additionally they convey new options like finger monitoring. Our guess is Vive 1.5 received’t ship with Knuckles, sadly.

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It’s thrilling to see a refreshed model of the Vive on the best way, particularly with Oculus saying that they don’t anticipate to launch a Rift 2 in 2018. Whatever HTC finally ends up saying, we’ll be there at CES subsequent week on the eighth to search out out. Stay tuned!

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