HTC’s new headset has leaked and it’ll make you look like a bug

A leaked marketing image of the unannounced HTC Vive Flow VR headset.
Image: Evan Blass on Twitter
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On Monday, I wrote about leaked details of an unannounced HTC Vive Flow VR headset that’s expected to be announced at an event on Thursday. Just one day later, we now know what it looks like thanks to images shared by prolific leaker Evan Blass, who has been actively posting new photos over the course of the evening. According to a slide in a more recent tweet, the device will cost $499 and start shipping in November.

Here’s the first batch:

Overall, the images in Blass’ first tweet match many of the details reported by Protocol on Monday, but they give a much better idea of what the final device may look like. (And I’m just going to say it: the leaked promo kind of makes the wearers look like bugs.) It’s hard to tell if the big yellowish spots on the front of the headset are see-through; but if you look closely, it appears there may be cameras embedded in the front of the device.

The first leaked photos appeared to indicate that the headset will be tethered via a wire to some kind of tube-shaped device, which could perhaps provide a little extra power to the headset (similar to the original Magic Leap). But other images make it less clear: another set of images leaked by Blass shows that it does have internal processing (and a blower-style cooling fan), and yet another set suggest the tube might simply be a carrying case.

There’s even one image that shows it plugged into a phone.

Conspicuously, there doesn’t appear to be a head strap in these images of the Vive Flow. Most headsets that people find comfortable balance their weight using some kind of strap, so we’ll have to try the Vive Pro for ourselves to see if HTC has figured out a way to make Vive Pro pleasant to wear without one.

The new headset also has an extremely close resemblance to HTC’s “Project Proton,” a prototype mixed reality device the company revealed in February 2020 with a similarly buggy-eyed design and a similar possibility of being tethered to a pack. It’s unclear if the Vive Flow is the final retail evolution of that Proton, but it seems like a strong possibility.

If you want to learn more about the Vive Flow, you might not have long to wait, as the company will be hosting an event on Thursday with the coincidental tagline “Go with the Flow.” Earlier Tuesday morning, HTC teased a very brief look at what will be announced there — while it’s hard to tell if it matches the leaked renders from Blass, it sure does look like a VR headset of some kind.

Update, 9:30PM ET: Added more leaked details, including pricing.

Update, 11:59PM ET: Added more details.

Comments

I see a cable dangling from this thing… instapass

I see that, ew.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this VR headset was standalone, but it also was able to connect to existing VR hardware system, like PC. The Quest does the same thing. It’s completely stand alone, but you can use your library of PC VR games via a link cable.

Honestly, I’ve seen sunglasses that are weirder than this on my way to work. These still look goofy but far less so than earlier headsets.

Jokes on them, I already look like a bug.

haha, I said I hoped the image from the invite was a teaser of the headset more in a smooth glossy plastic look (similar to the Magic Mouse), didn’t think they’d have separate parts for each eye. That’s hilarious.

Probably Dead on arrival at that price, with the Quest 2 starting at $299. Especially if the rumors are correct that it packs a chipset weaker than the XR1 in the Quest 2

The Quest 2 uses Qualcomms XR2 SoC, not the XR1 SoC. There is a huge difference between those 2 chips.

Curious about this, as I’m in the market for a VR headset but hesitant to get a Quest because of Facebook. If this is untethered from Facebook and offer similar features and performances as the Quest, I’d be ok to pay a little more money for it.

Same here.

The Quest 2 is really slick, and at $299, you get 128 gb of storage with 6 GB of RAM, and dual 2k displays. The experience on the Oculus Quest 2 is second to none right now, and I have a lot of VR headsets. Also the Quest 2 let’s you link up to a Windows PC, so you can play Steam VR games, as well as use other VR platforms, including Microsoft’s. You don’t have to use the Quest 2 connect to the internet, if you use the link cable from the PC/notebook.

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