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HTC Introduces Vive Pro Eyetracking VR Headset, Mobile-Powered Vive Cosmos Headset

HTC used its CES press conference in Las Vegas on Monday to introduce two new headsets: The company introduced an updated version of the Vive Pro, dubbed the Vive Pro Eye, as well as a headset named the Vive Cosmos that can be powered not only by PCs, but potentially also mobile devices.

The new Vive Pro Eye promises increased speed of VR interactions, and more efficient use of computing resources. The headset will also enable what is known in the industry as foveated rendering, which means that it renders the areas of an experience where users currently look in high-resolution, while rendering areas that are out of focus at lower resolutions.

HTC first announced the Vive Pro headset at CES 2018, and has been positioning it as a device for prosumers and professionals. “We entered the market extremely well, it was well received by enterprise and professionals,” said HTC Vive Americas general manager Dan O’Brien.

There is no word yet on how much the Vive Pro Eye will cost, or when exactly it is being made available, with HTC saying Monday that it would ship in the second quarter of the year.

CREDIT: Janko Roettgers / Variety

As for the Vive Cosmos (pictured above), HTC kept mum on many details Monday, but suggested that it could be powered by “more than just a PC” while a photo of the headset in conjunction with a mobile phone flashed across the screen. The Vive Cosmos will also include inside-out tracking, and is apparently being positioned as a consumer device.

The company plans to make Vive Cosmos developer devices available soon, and announce details around the commercial availability later this year.

In addition to the headset announcements, HTC Vive also unveiled the next version of its Viveport VR subscription service. Viveport Infinity, as the service is being called, will give consumers unlimited access to a catalog of more than 500 apps and games.

“Think of it as your Netflix in VR,” said Viveport president Rikard Steiber. Viveport Infinity will launch on April 5. It will effectively replace the existing Viveport subscription service, which currently offers access to up to five titles a month for around $6.70 per month.

HTC also announced two new partnerships for its VR endeavors: The company has teamed up with Amazon to simplify the development of web VR experiences, and partnered with Mozilla to make Mozilla Reality the default browser for all of the company’s VR headsets.

Update: 6:40pm: This post was updated with more information on Viveport Infinity.

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