While Meta and TikTok owner ByteDance battle to be the premium social media/metaverse company making virtual or augmented reality hardware, HTC is reminding everyone that it has a place in the game, too.
Without providing any extra details, it released this simple teaser tweet on Thursday morning, promising to “go small or go home.”
A brief HTC press release described the tweet as a teaser for “a new headset” and noted that it’d been a year since the Vive Flow — HTC’s early stab at a consumer VR headset that looks (sort of) like sunglasses.
It references the Flow as the “first” headset made under Project Proton, a super-small headset initiative HTC discussed in 2020. Coupled with the tagline on the tweet, the best guess is something like a second-generation Flow that’s hopefully smaller, more stable, and home to a more extensive app ecosystem.
The approach would contrast with Meta and ByteDance’s recent headset offerings. For example, ByteDance introduced the Pico 4 VR headset, which has specs similar to the consumer-grade Meta Quest 2 and emphasizes activities like fitness and gaming.
ByteDance has almost 2,000 employees in India and has now paused new hiring. Soon after Indian declared the ban on TikTok and 58 other apps over national security matters, TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer, also the COO of ByteDance, said that employees are the company’s “biggest strength” and their well-being its “topmost priority.”
“We have also secured more than 2,000 strong workforces that we will do everything in power to restore the positive ventures and opportunities that they can be proud of,” Mayer stated in a blog, driving the company’s India staff.
However, these assurances seemed not enough to settle the minds of many of the company’s worried employees. Their concerns mounted after the platform faced the menace of a comparable ban from the Donald Trump administration in the US, even as Microsoft revealed strategies to buy TikTok service in the US, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand by mid-September – a deadline fixed by the US President.
Microsoft is glancing to receive TikTok’s entire global business, including its service in India and Europe. Before this month, the US President issued an executive order forbidding any entity in the country from bringing out transactions with the TikTok proprietor within 45 days.
It is only realistic that uncertainty enveloping the business when India’s relations with China have strained due to border apprehensions in Ladakh will pressure the employees.
It has appeared that what is TikTok’s loss could be achieved for the Indian startups that are endeavoring to fill the gap left empty by the ban. As a result, many TikTok employees seek opportunities with rivals like Chingari, Trell, Bolo Indya, and Sharechat, among others.
Meta is poised to announce a new higher-end headset, apparently dubbed the Meta Quest Pro (aka Project Cambria), on October 11th. But, of course, HTC is more than capable of high-end VR — it sells the fairly powerful Vive Focus 3 for use by businesses and location-based entertainment.
But the original Flow was focused squarely on appealing to people who don’t want a traditional VR headset, and an even smaller headset might perform that task better. We don’t know precisely when HTC will fill us in on the details — but it sounds like we’ll know more soon.