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article imageTroubled HTC sees virtual reality as its saviour, not phones

By James Walker     Jan 11, 2016 in Technology
HTC has been slipping behind in the smartphone market over the past couple of years. Despite launching truly high-end premium devices, sales have been slipping and profits falling. The company is now turning to virtual reality to save itself.
HTC will still be building smartphones for the foreseeable future. Its HTC One M10 2016 flagship is expected very soon once Mobile World Congress (MWC) gets going but it remains to be seen how popular it will be. This is something CEO Cher Wang is now accepting of though.
Wang told the Telegraph that she sees HTC's virtual reality headset, the popular Vive, as the product that will return the company to the top of the technology world. The company intends to bet big on VR, hoping to change its financial status in the process. In its 2015 third-quarter operating results, HTC posted a loss of $151 million and revenue of only $660 million, down from $1.3 billion in the same period in 2014.
Virtual reality has yet to take off in a big way as few people have experienced a VR headset like the Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR or HTC Vive. Wang thinks it will soon be embraced by society though, telling the Telegraph: "With virtual reality, technology becomes limitless. You can inhabit a different world with a head mount. Think how it could change surgery, education, science, even shopping."
The HTC Vive's headset includes a few standout features that aren't offered by the competition. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) last week, the company unveiled a new version of the Vive that includes a front-facing camera to let users seamlessly switch between the immersive virtual world and the real one in their room at will.
Vive also lets its user walk around, encouraging the exploration of spaces in the virtual world using more than just the hands. This is an area that devices like the Oculus Rift currently leave out in favour of more static experiences where the world revolves around a point occupied by the headset wearer.
For HTC, this kind of unique ability could be the feature to save the entire company. Wang is certainly optimistic for the future though. She said: "Virtual reality is something people have talked about for 20, 30 years, in movies, in books and finally it is real. VR has been our minds for a long time, and HTC has made virtual reality real."
HTC helped to pioneer smartphones and remained relevant right up until just a few years ago. It created devices including the first ever Android phone but has now slipped away almost into obscurity.
By putting smartphones behind it and concentrating on the future, HTC looks to concentrate on the newest kind of technology to hit the market, hoping its implementation of virtual reality will prove popular with the masses and let it return to being the company it once was. The Vive will become available for pre-order on February 29 for a currently unknown price.
More about HTC, Smartphone, Virtual reality, Vr, Android
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