Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

HTC’s U11 gets a mobile VR headset… sort of

HTC makes one of the better VR headsets in the HTC Vive, but it hasn’t crossed over into the world of portable virtual reality for some reason, but an announcement in Japan could change that shortly.

Whether you’re keen to dabble in virtual reality or you really don’t care, there’s one clear message: the next level of entertainment that immerses you from the head down is definitely coming, and it’s something quite a few manufacturers believe in.

We’ve seen Samsung’s big push for mobile virtual reality with the Oculus-assisted Gear VR headset, Google’s attempt at making mobile VR a little more generic with the fabric-lined Daydream View VR, but strangely HTC — which has a big desktop presence — doesn’t have a mobile option.

But that might change soon, as HTC has unveiled something in Japan and Japan only, showing off a device it calls the “HTC Link”.

Different from the HTC Vive, the Link is still a VR headset, only it is designed to work with a mobile phone, and not in the same way as either the Samsung Gear VR or Google Daydream View VR, forgoing the phone’s screen being used as your VR headset screen and replacing it with a dedicated screen inside the headset.

That doesn’t mean the HTC Link won’t use the phone, however, with the concept still being plugged in and using a very specific smartphone — HTC’s U11 — to control the software experience, as well as sensors to track movement, basically turning the HTC Link into a mobile HTC Vive.

As interesting as this is, it will be fairly hard to find, at least upon first release, with Japan seeing it first in conjunction with a promotion linking the headset (no pun intended) to a “Ghost in the Shell” animated program.

It’s worth noting that HTC’s take on the VR headset is similar in some ways to what LG demonstrated in one of last year’s “friends of LG” gadgets for the G5, with a VR headset that relies on a smartphone as an entertainment source to make something happen. HTC’s Link appears to go a little further, with motion markers included and not just another 360 degree headset, but the concepts are similar in execution, at least upon initial glance.

Whether Australian HTC U11 owners will see them locally, that’s a question we don’t have an answer to, but we’ll nudge HTC a little more to find out if it will come to our little nearby nation, and follow up this story when we know more.

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