Let’s start this 2023 with a leak! I’ve been tipped about the fact that the Korean store of HTC may have accidentally leaked the name of the new Vive headset that will be revealed at CES… and maybe also its price.
The Vive “Flowcus”
HTC has been teasing a new standalone headset for months, without sharing much if not some images revealing some small details of the device. Tired of all these small teasers, XR analyst Brad Lynch (SadlyItsBradly) mobilized all his sources and managed to obtain quite a bunch of interesting pieces of information about it.
In his video, which got pretty popular, Brad teased that the device and called it “Flowcus” because it looks like a Vive Flow with the controllers of the Vive Focus. He later corrected some of his leaks, with a new series of information.
Two weeks ago, HTC itself finally talked about the device in an interview with The Verge, and teased some of its functionalities, announcing that the device will be officially revealed at the CES in Las Vegas on January 5th.
These are the features officially revealed by HTC:
- The device may also be interesting for consumers
- It won’t be a headset with hardware price subsidized by data harvesting
- It features RGB passthrough and a depth sensor
- It supports 6DOF VR controllers along with optical hand tracking
- It offers two hours of battery life
And these are the additions provided by Brad in his leaks:
- It is expected to cost more than $1,000
- It includes a depth sensor above the 16MP RGB camera
- It uses an actively cooled Snapdragon XR2 Gen 1 with 8GB of RAM
- The display is made by two 1,920×1,920 LCD screens clocked up to 120hz
- The headset is a standalone with a battery in the back, but the battery can be removed and the headset plugged into a PC for tethered VR
- It uses the same controllers as the Vive Focus 3
Anyway, we had no information about the price or the name of the headset… until now.
The Korean leak
Today I found on Reddit a post revealing that HTC just registered the name “Vive XR Elite”. When posting this news on Twitter, the user Inscothen pointed me to a screenshot of the online Korean Vive store that mentioned exactly this term: Vive XR Elite. The picture was clearly one of the headset shown by HTC, together with the Vive Focus 3 controllers rumored to be there by Brad Lynch. I asked him some more proof and he pointed me to the Google cache of the website showing the same thing, so the image has not been manipulated. The headset is really called Vive XR Elite.
As for the price, it is mentioned to be ₩1,790,000 (that letter is the symbol of the South Korean Won), which is around 1400 dollars. I made a cross-check with the price in Won and in Dollars of the Vive Flow, and they correspond exactly, so this means that $1400 is reported to be the true price of the device. This would be again in line with the rumors of Brad Lynch of a device costing more than $1000.
ANYWAY, take all of this with a lot of grains of salt. Sometimes these stores write some placeholder prices before the actual launch, so it may be that the price of the real device is less than that. $1400 is anyway a lot of money, even for HTC standards. Maybe they just used the price of the Focus 3 as a placeholder. Or maybe not. Let’s remember that the Vive focus 3 was already costing around $1300 and that the Quest Pro with which the Vive XR Elite can compete thanks to its RGB passthrough and depth sensor, costs $1500. So $1400 for something that is like the Quest Pro but lighter and with a depth sensor more (but not facial tracking), may have total sense. And I guess that at Meta no one would be happy to see that two competitors like Pico and HTC are offering devices with comparable features to the Quest Pro but at an inferior price.
Anyway, if the price is confirmed to be above $1000 like Brad’s finding and this rumor seems to point at, this device could become very interesting for the prosumer VR market, that is where HTC is recognized as one of the best brands on the market but will have almost no appeal on the consumer one.
But again, let’s wait for the official launch before making any judgment. I love to make the speculation game, but remember that until official information is shared, it is exactly just a game. The launch is very close, so we just have to wait 4 more days to have the official reveal of the Vive XR Elite! Who else is interested?
(Header image by HTC Vive)
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