Taipei, Jan. 12 (CNA) Taiwan-based smartphone vendor HTC Corp. (宏達電) is likely to price its first virtual reality headset -- the HTC Vive -- at around US$1,500 (NT$50,000), foreign brokerages estimated Tuesday.
While HTC has announced that pre-order sales for the HTC Vive will kick off Feb. 29, the company has remained tight-lipped on the pricing of its VR gear, which it hopes will create an alternative sales source to fend off escalating competition from the global smartphone market.
The HTC Vive is scheduled to hit store shelves in April.
Foreign brokerages said that the HTC Vive will be more expensive than its VR counterparts, as HTC's VR headset's advanced spatial recognition features and its wireless controllers will allow consumers to have a level of immersion not seen in VR headsets in the past.
On Monday, Samsung Electronics Co. launched its Gear VR in Taiwan with a price tag of NT$3,490 (US$104). Due to the pricing strategies, many market observers have anticipated that Samsung's VR gadget could attract many local entry-level users who just want to experience the new technology for the first time.
The Oculus Rift, which has investment from Google, has started pre-order sales with a price tag of US$599. The Sony PlayStation VR is expected to be priced at US$1,125.
Commenting on the forecast pricing for the HTC Vive, some netizens in Taiwan said that they have doubts about how the HTC's VR gear will compete in the market as the pricing is still high for many young consumers, who receive an average monthly salary of NT$22,000.
But other netizens said Taiwanese consumers should lend their support to HTC, which has made a lot of effort to develop the VR device, and recognize the Taiwanese firm's achievements in research and development.
Due to the relatively high price, foreign brokerages said that HTC could sell no more than 1 million units this year.
The HTC Vive, jointly developed by HTC and U.S. video game supplier Valve, was unveiled at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) show in March 2015. The headset is equipped with tracked controllers that allow wearers to inspect objects from every angle and interact with their surroundings.
HTC has invested more than NT$300 million in WEVR, a VR content developer in the United States, to strengthen its VR development.
Last month, HTC Chairwoman Cher Wang (王雪紅) said HTC has been exploring the possibility of expanding the VR headset applications to areas such as medical care, education, exhibitions, property development, industrial design, tourism and e-commerce.
HTC is looking to work with German automaker Audi to provide a service to potential auto buyers, allowing them to test drive vehicles in a virtual environment through the use of the HTC Vive.
(By Esme Jiang and Frances Huang)ENDITEM/J