It’s telling that HTC opted to set up shop in Hall 7 at MWC. Rather than holding court alongside the Samsungs and Huaweis of the world, the company mingled among the peripherals and accessories makers. While it’s true there was news around the Exodus 1 blockchain handset, the Vive was its real star of the show.
Until now, the Exodus 1 has, fittingly, only been available for purchase with cryptocurrency. Starting today, however, interested parties will be able to pick HTC’s blockchain phone up through more traditional means, including USD, which prices the handset at a not unreasonable $699.
HTC has had a little bit of a rough ride these past few years. After betting the farm on VR, the company has had to make some substantial business strategy shifts to keep the division kicking in the face of a less-than-robust headset market and a behemoth margin-less competitor that’s alright losing a few billion dollars.
A smartphone screen is a wonder of the world. It’s not just that it’s bright and colorful and sharp. In some ways, it’s as good as human biology allows. We’ve packed so many pixels into such a small space that any more would be lost on us. We can’t make the screens themselves bigger, because then they’d become too large to hold. The only way to get more information from a smartphone screen is to bring the pixels closer to our eyes, with the device somehow mounted on our heads rather than holding it in our hands. Instead of a phone as we usually think of it, it would be more like a pair of glasses.
HTC is giving its high-end enterprise-focused Vive Pro VR headset a feature bump in the next few months that’s focused on eye-tracking.
Vive has seemed to be devoting a lot of attention to the enterprise, but the company teased their new consumer VR headset called the Vive Cosmos at CES today. The positionally-tracked headset boasts tracked hand controllers and can be interestingly be powered via PC or “other methods,” making it the first in a new class of hybrid VR headsets.
If you think times are bad at Apple, spare a thought for HTC, the once king-of-the-hill phone maker that continues to struggle very badly.
The Exodus 1 didn’t make its global debut on stage at TechCrunch Shenzhen. That was the plan, but stuff, as the saying goes, happens. It simply didn’t make its way from Hong Kong to China in time.
Last year, 30 leading venture investors told us about a fundamental shift from early-stage North American VR investment to later-stage Chinese computer vision/AR investment — but they didn’t anticipate its ferocity.
After months of talk, HTC’s blockchain phone is finally arriving — albeit in limited quantities. The hardware maker announced today at a crypto conference in Berlin that it’s opening up access to an early version the Exodus 1 handset to “cryptographers and developers from all over the world” through its official site.