HTC VR apps to support Windows MR headsets

06/01/2019 09:06 PM
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Taipei, June 1 (CNA) Taiwan-based smartphone brand HTC Corp., which unveiled its first virtual reality headset -- the Vive -- in 2015, is set to make its VR software compatible with Windows mixed reality headsets, as part of the Taiwanese firm's efforts to boost its VR development efforts.

Starting on June 5, all Windows MR headset devices will gain access to apps provided by Viveport, which provides users with content for the VR headsets, while Windows MR headsets will also gain unlimited access to subscription services under the Viveport Infinity program, HTC said.

According to HTC, Viviport owns more than 1,700 VR content titles and makes more than 600 of those titles available to play for a subscription fee.

HTC said that 2000 of the 600 titles available by subscription from Vivieport Infinity will be accessible to Windows MR headsets, which is expected to enable the brand to further explore the global VR headset market and lock in more potential buyers of its own VR headsets, market analysts said.

Rikard Steiber, president of Viveport said the company will support all mainstream PC VR devices, including HTC's Vive series of products, Oculus Rift, Oculus S as well as Windows MR headsets, to help Viviport gain more users and generate more sales.

Since the launch of the Vive, HTC has introduced follow-up models including the Vive Pro Eye and the Vive Focus Plus, to expand its product mix.

Oculus VR is a division of the social media giant Facebook, one of the global tech companies that has invested in the VR business.

HTC said the efforts to allow Windows MR headsets access to Viveport's content are also expected to expand the potential audience through the Viveport platform.

Although HTC has devoted itself to developing VR technology, its VR operations still account for only a small fraction of the company's sales which have failed to offset the impact of escalating competition in the global smartphone market.

With HTC losing share in the global smartphone market, the company's smartphone business has lost money every quarter since the second quarter of 2015. HTC reported a profit in the first quarter of 2018, but that was after the sale of its OEM phone business to Google for US$1.1 billion.

The losses continued in the first quarter of 2019, as its main product line continued to struggle in the face of intense competition in the global smartphone market.

In the January-March period, HTC posted a net loss of NT$2.46 billion (US$77.85 million) and a loss per share of NT$2.98, an improvement from NT$5.27 loss per share the previous quarter.

Despite the first quarter loss, HTC did see its gross margin, which reflects the difference between revenue and cost of goods sold, improve from 8 percent to 14.7 percent the previous quarter because of efforts to improve its product mix.

(By Jiang Ming-yan and Frances Huang)


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