Mobile VR just got very interesting.
HTC has just announced the Link VR, a new mobile VR headset powered by its U11 smartphone. With two handheld controllers, an external camera and six degrees of freedom tracking, it’s a real step up from the current generation of mobile headsets like the Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream View.
But here’s the rub: it looks like it’s getting a Japan release only.
We don’t have any price info on this VR hybrid from HTC yet but we do know it is scheduled for a July release date. As for specs, it has two 3.6-inch 1080 x 1200 LCD displays inside, with a 110 degree field of view and 90Hz refresh rate – all darn good specs for any headset, let alone a mobile one.
What’s interesting is that it is powered by a HTC phone (the HTC U11) but doesn’t use its display, instead it’s connected by a USB-C cable so this isn’t a completely wireless experience.
The Link itself weighs 554g and as far as we can tell there will be lights on the two controllers and the headset with a camera to set up which tracks their movements. Both these accessories will be bundled in the box.
HTC has confirmed this headset won’t use Valve’s Lighthouse tracking tech as on the high end Vive. Six degrees of freedom is positional tracking that tracks forward/back, up/down, left/right, yaw, pitch and roll movements of your headse and handheld controllers- it’s a benchmark for recreating realistic movements in VR.
This won’t get Vive branding either so we’re not sure what VR app and game stores this will have access too aside from Cardboard apps on the Google Play Store, which can be accessed by any smartphone. There’s a Ghost in the Shell VR experience tie-in for the launch but no more details on content yet.
It doesn’t look like there are any plans for an international release though perhaps the Link’s Japan release will give the standalone HTC Daydream headset more of a clear run globally. We’ll update this story with more details as they come in.