HTC has announced that it will be opening pre-orders for its official Vive Wireless Adapter, which uses Intel WiGig technology to provide low-latency wireless connectivity to HTC's Vive virtual reality headset, in September for $299.
One of, but by no means the only, major drawback of current-generation tethered virtual reality hardware is in the cabling requirements: Between power, incoming video data, and outgoing sensor data the user finds themselves with a bundle of cables sprouting out of the back of their head and can, in room-scale scenarios, end up with their wandering artificially limited or brought to a crashing halt by a tangle. While standalone VR headsets like the HTC Vive Focus remove this problem, they lack the computational grunt to match the quality of their tethered brethren, and other solutions - including powerful gaming PCs worn as a backpack - are clumsy at best.
Well aware of this issue, HTC has been working on adding wireless connectivity to its Vive headset - and now it's getting ready to take pre-orders. Dubbed the Vive Wireless Adapter, and powered by Intel's WiGig hardware, the add-on includes a PCI Express WiGig and DisplayLink XR card coupled with a sensor which gives a gaming PC a six-metre range with 150-degree field-of-view for tracking the user. The headset, meanwhile, becomes powered by HTC's QC 3.0 PowerBank USB battery pack, which also doubles as a smartphone charger.
'Since the first demos of Vive, we've known that to deliver on the best of premium VR, we wanted it to be wireless,' claims Daniel O'Brien, general manager of HTC Vive's American arm. 'But we learned that delivering a great wireless experience takes time and really smart partners. We've brought the engineering expertise together to deliver a truly first of its kind wireless VR experience. Thanks to Intel and DisplayLink for helping to make this vision a reality.'
While international pricing and availability has yet to be confirmed, HTC has announced that US pre-orders for the adapter will launch on September 5th priced at $299 (around £233 excluding taxes), with Vive Pro users requiring an additional 'compatibility pack' priced at $60 (around £47 excluding taxes). All buyers will also receive a two-month subscription to Viveport, HTC's games-on-demand service.