HTC may eventually bring its Vive Focus to the West, one of the company’s executives said in a recent interview. While speaking with tech blogger Antony Vitillo late last month, HTC Vive China President Alvin Wang Graylin said the firm’s first standalone virtual reality headset still doesn’t have a firm global roadmap attached to it but not because the Taiwanese tech giant isn’t open to the idea of expanding its availability. Instead, HTC is looking to use China as a testbed market of sorts, measuring the performance of the Vive Focus before deciding whether to subsequently launch it in more markets. “It is definitely our intent that if we have a good product, that it should be available to as many users as possible,” Mr. Graylin said, without elaborating on the matter.
While the executive likely won’t be part of the team making the final decision on whether to introduce the Vive Focus to more markets, his comments are indicative of the company’s wider strategy that’s been becoming increasingly more cautious in recent times. Following years of weak commercial performance, the firm decided to scale down its smartphone operations, having primarily done so through a partial sale of its talent to Google who bought a significant part of its smartphone unit for $1.1 billion. The transaction that included a largely unrestricted license for HTC’s patent portfolio was cleared in late January and will consequently wind down the company’s handset ambitions, with the Taipei-based original equipment manufacturer already confirming it’s planning to reduce the number of new smartphone models set to be released over the course of this year.
While HTC is now touting VR as the future of its business, its cautious approach to the Vive Focus is indicative of a changing corporate strategy that’s now more focused on cutting costs than making large bets. The firm recently canceled its standalone VR headset powered by Google’s Daydream platform without citing any specific reasons behind the decision. Should the Vive Focus ever launch outside of China, the gadget may end up undergoing some revisions before being treated to a wider release, depending on the initial customer feedback. The headset officially debuted in the Far Eastern country last November, powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 chip and priced at the equivalent of $600.