I do love a good tech teaser, so I'm very much enjoying this (opens in new tab) enigmatic Twitter post from the HTC Vive team. "Go small or go home," it says above a close-cropped image of a previously undisclosed VR headset. And that's your lot.
Thankfully HTC's PR people are a bit more forthcoming. "Today HTC VIVE has released a teaser for a new headset," they told us, recapping the last twelve months of HTC VR including the VIVE Flow immersive VR glasses, the VIVE Wrist Tracker and wireless 5G streaming to the Vive Focus 3. "But maybe our ambition needs to get... smaller?" HTC already makes some of the best VR headsets around, but so far it's focused primarily on power. Perhaps this time out portability and price are the priority.
The official Twitter account isn't adding any details just yet, but it's having fun with HTC fans and refusing to say whether it's a consumer product or a business one. So what exactly is HTC teasing, and why now?
Spoiler alert! The tease is designed to spoil Meta's party
The "why" is the easy bit: It's to annoy Meta, whose own big VR announcement for its Project Cambria headset is happening later this month. The "what" takes a bit more detective work, but given that the press release talks about how it's been a year since the unveiling of the Vive Flow as part of HTC's smaller VR headset programme, it's a fairly safe bet that we're looking at a new generation of that.
That's interesting, because it could mean that HTC is going in a completely different direction to the likes of Meta and even Apple: both the Project Cambria headset and whatever Apple's got in its labs are expected to be really expensive. In that light, "go small or go home" sounds like HTC is going to let the Vive Pro 2 stay as its flagship high-end product with something smaller and more affordable at the lower end.
The big question is which market HTC is going for here. The Vive Focus 3 is aimed primarily at corporate users, but Twitter teasing is usually a consumer market play. And the Focus has tech that would lend itself very well to consumer apps: it does VR rendering in the cloud in much the same way that Microsoft's Xbox cloud gaming does, and it can do it over a mobile data connection.
Fancy a VR headset that you can wear anywhere?
On that basis, one of the most interesting interactions I've seen on the HTC account was when one poster said they'd already gone home. "You might want to go back outside," HTC responded. Whatever HTC is up to, I don't think it'll be long before more details emerge.