With consumer VR headsets like the Vive Cosmos and Vive Pro 2, as well as enterprise-focused standalone headsets like the Vive Focus range, HTC’s Vive brand has created a name for itself in virtual reality headsets. Vive’s technology is now being applied to a new category: guided wellness.
HTC has unveiled the Vive Flow, a pair of smart glasses designed to promote health and mindfulness rather than provide full virtual reality experiences.
The Vive Flow is a personal, head-mounted device that resembles a large pair of sunglasses and features a lens-and-screen combination similar to that found in traditional VR headsets. At a 75Hz refresh rate, the display shows a 1,600-by-1,600 picture with a 100-degree field of view for each eye. The display isn’t as transparent as more pricey and enterprise-focused augmented reality (AR) glasses, but it does include stereo passthrough cameras for keeping an eye on your surroundings.
The Vive Flow is designed to be used with your smartphone and requires a USB-C cable to connect to it. It doesn’t have the same stand-alone freedom as the Vive Focus (or Oculus Quest 2), but it’s far more handy and hardware-light than PC-tethered headsets like as the Vive Cosmos and Pro 2. Apple customers, on the other hand, will most likely be out of luck, as the Flow is designed for Android.
These aren’t particularly impressive specs for a virtual reality headset, but the Vive Flow isn’t actually meant for it. The Vive Flow “allows people to find moments of quiet and well-being for themselves throughout the day,” according to HTC, by using apps like TRIPP to lead meditation or simply watching films on the personal display. The headgear can also be used for light professional purposes, with the Vive Sync platform allowing for VR collaboration.
The Vive Flow, like other HTC Vive devices, can use HTC’s Viveport service to access a range of apps. For $12.99 per month, Viveport offers the Viveport Infinity membership to VR headset customers, which gives them access to a library of VR apps, experiences, and games. Because the Vive Flow is geared at personal wellness rather than high-end gaming, the Vive Flow’s optional subscription plan offers a more focused library of apps for health, productivity, and “light gaming” for $5.99 per month.
Preorders for the HTC Vive Flow start at $499, with an open sale scheduled for November.
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