When HTC launched the One A9, it promised to roll out new versions of Android “within 15 days” of their release. Pretty sweet, right? Well, it would be — but that’s not happening with Android 7.0. In a tweet, HTC said the new software will be hitting the HTC 10 in the fourth quarter of 2016, followed by the unlocked One M9, the unlocked One A9 and their carrier counterparts. The timeline suggests that the company will be breaking its promise with the One A9 — Google released Nougat on August 22nd, meaning the phone would need to receive it by September 6th.
We reached out to HTC, and a spokesperson told us: “With the excitement around Android Nougat, we’re aligning engineering resources around our most popular flagship products where the most customers will benefit.” It’s a shame, because the One A9 is a decent little phone. Admittedly, it’s not a top-tier powerhouse like the HTC 10, but it’s still capable. Throw in a five-inch display (an increasingly rare smartphone spec) and a light, reserved take on Android, and you’ve got a solid if unadventurous device.
The move is a head-scratcher, because HTC is struggling to sell phones as it is. The least it can do is support the people who are still buying them.
Via: XDA Developers
Source: HTC (Twitter)
How do you attract developers to a fledgling virtual reality content delivery service for a VR headset that already has a shopping platform? With half a million dollars in cash and prizes, of course! Today, HTC announced the Viveport Development Awards: a contest with a $500,000 prize pool designed to attract developers the HTC’s global VR app store.
Viveport’s Development Awards is open to any developer that submits an app to the platform from today, and five finalists each will be selected for each category: the Viveport “pillars” of Discover, Create, Connect, Watch and Shop. From there, a panel of judges will pick the grand prize winners — though HTC says all of the final nominees will be awarded prizes.
The contest also kicks off Viveport’s Developer Beta and community pages — which contestants will need to use to submit their projects. With any luck, the awards program will help Viveport build a strong library for the consumer launch later this year. If not? Well, at least we’ll always have Steam.
Source: HTC Viveport
The decision to get a high-end virtual reality headset is as much about the software selection as the technology itself. So which platform is getting the most attention from developers? Apparently, it’s HTC’s Vive. A UBM Game Network industry report shows that 49 percent of VR developers are targeting the Vive, while 43 percent are writing software for the Oculus Rift. And the gap gets wider when it comes to the next game from these studios — nearly 35 percent are building for the Vive, while a little over 23 percent are aiming at the Rift.
The study doesn’t explain why the Vive is getting more support, although its technology may play an important role. While Oculus is largely focused on sit-down VR with conventional controls (its motion controller won’t arrive until later this year), the Vive shipped from the start with support for room-scale VR and motion input. There’s just more you can do. We’d add that the Vive already has unique experiences, like the Star Wars VR experiment, and that HTC has managed to get the Vive into the hands of influential YouTube stars like PewDiePie. If many of your potential players were most excited for the Vive, which one would you support? Still, it comes as a mild surprise when Oculus has the luxuries of both years of publicity and Facebook’s financial backing.
There are plenty of challenges for developers, regardless of the hardware. The steep price of high-end VR (you need a fast PC on top of the headset) and a lack of must-have titles play a part, but one of the most common problems is nausea. As we found out first hand, sickness can sour an otherwise great experience — people might not try VR again if their first experience makes them queasy. Also, just under half of all VR creators are funding their projects with personal funds, rather than leaning on outside help.
Thankfully, there’s a lot of optimism. Nearly 96 percent of surveyed developers believe there’s a sustainable audience for VR and augmented reality. While that’s not completely shocking for a group that’s already committed (you wouldn’t make a VR game if you didn’t think people would buy it), the data shows that creators believe there’s a real, long-term audience.
Nvidia has just taken the wraps off a trio of laptop GPUs based on its new “Pascal” chip architecture, the GeForce GTX 1060M, the 1070M and the 1080M. While the 1080M is by far the most impressive, it’s the humble 1060M that could make the biggest impact on the market. Why? Because it facilitates using a virtual reality headset like the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift on a reasonably small laptop.
The 1060M essentially replaces the 970M, insomuch as it’ll fit into the same sort of products as the older chip. All of the technologies launched for the Pascal architecture, including VRWorks and Ansel, are supported on the 1060M, which has 1,280 CUDA cores, 6GB of 192-bit, 8Gbps memory and a base clock speed of 1,404MHz. The end result of these specs is a “VR-ready” chip that’ll fit in laptops as svelte as 18mm, like the Razer Blade.
What exactly “VR ready” means nowadays is a bit of a mystery. Oculus and HTC released their headsets targeting the desktop GTX 980, but both AMD and NVIDIA have since released cheaper cards (the RX 480 and the GTX 1060, respectively) that both claim to play nice with VR.
At a launch event in the UK, NVIDIA showed off the 1060M, 1070M and 1080M paired with various VR games. But while the more powerful chips were demoed with graphically intense games, NVIDIA chose The Thrill of the Fight. It’s a very fun, but relatively undemanding title, requiring only a desktop GTX 970 card. The MSI GS43 (an updated GS40 with a 1060M GPU inside) handled it perfectly. For regular gaming, NVIDIA claims it’ll do just fine. The same MSI GS43 hit 96.4FPS in Doom (1080p, ultra settings), 51.4FPS in The Witcher 3 (1080p, maxed settings, HairWorks disabled), and 71.5FPS in Tomb Raider (1080p, very high). Older games can play nice with higher resolutions, with <em>BioShock Infinite</em> hitting 72.4FPS at 1440p, and <em>Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor</em> hitting 62.1FPS, both with “ultra” settings.
|Memory||6GB GDDR5*||6GB GDDR5||4GB GDDR5|
When pressed, representatives at the event said the 1060M is VR-ready, and agreed that a stable “90 frames-per-second is a must for VR,” but “you might need to play around with the settings, as you would on any PC game, in order to reach that.” That suggests that while, yes, the 1060M has the power to run the current crop of VR games, don’t expect to be playing with Ultra graphics settings. NVIDIA also cautions that the “VR-ready” status is only when you’re plugged into an outlet — when running from the battery it won’t reach the clock speeds necessary. Digging into NVIDIA’s official benchmark sheet (which doesn’t compare the two directly), it seems that the 1060M is basically on par with the GTX 980, which makes the decision to restrict demos to such a forgiving game a strange one.
Putting minutiae to one side, NVIDIA’s new laptop GPUs look like winners. The 1080M almost kills the need for laptops with desktop chips in them (although I’m sure the market will continue). It’ll support SLI, and even on its own, can maintain 60fps in 4K for all but the most-demanding of titles, and 120Hz gaming in 1080p as well. The 1070M will be the go-to option for gamers without $1000s to spare, sliding into any laptop that currently houses a 980M — think something like the Asus ROG G752, the Acer Predator 15, or the Origin EON 15-X. But it’s the 1060M that offers the most exiting proposition, to me at least. Laptops like the Razer Blade, the MSI GS40 Phantom and the Gigabyte Aorus X3 Plus are already combining portability with legitimate gaming chops. Now, newer versions will also be able to support VR.
If there was any doubt that HTC is working on at least one Nexus phone this year, the FCC (and a handful of leaks) just erased it. The regulator has received an HTC filing for smartphones that will be explicitly branded as a Nexus — a letter says you’ll find the user manual on Google’s Nexus page. The entries don’t really show the devices or say exactly what they can do, but the hardware should have full network support for all major North American carriers and beyond. Not that there’s much mystery as to what one of those devices looks like, as you’ll soon see.
Leaks from both Android Police and @Usbfl on Twitter show photos of what’s believed to be the 5-inch Marlin, the smaller of two Nexus devices that HTC is reportedly making this year (the other is the 5.5-inch Sailfish). They line up with a previous render AP made based on a source’s description, and support earlier rumors that both HTC Nexus devices would have a metal-and-glass design, not just the larger one like last year.
Assuming the images are accurate, they also suggest that earlier spec leaks are on the mark. Whether you choose Marlin or Sailfish may depend entirely on your preferred screen size. Both would have a higher-end Snapdragon processor (most likely the 820 or 821), 4GB of RAM, a 12-megapixel rear camera, an 8-megapixel front shooter and at least 32GB of built-in storage. Logically, 2015-era perks like a rear fingerprint reader and USB-C would carry over. There’s still no definitive release window for either Nexus, but they won’t necessarily launch at the same time as the Android Nougat upgrade arrives. Most likely, you’ll have to wait until sometime after LG unveils the first Nougat phone on September 6th.
The 2016 HTC Nexus looks like a cross between the Nexus 4 & iPhone with glass and fingerprint scanner on the back. pic.twitter.com/7pm9fhszki
— nexus (@usbfl) August 14, 2016
Via: The Next Web
Source: FCCID.io, Android Police, Usbfl (Twitter)
HTC is hard at work on a new pair of new Desire smartphones that are reportedly releasing later this quarter.
The new phones will be branded as the Desire 10 Pro and Desire 10 Lifestyle. This new info comes care of an insider with information on what the company is planning, shared with VentureBeat.
The Desire 10 Lifestyle will be a 5.5-inch smartphone with a variety of different colors, each with a special metallic trim on the edges and around the camera lens, flash and antenna cutouts. Matte and solid colors are the name of the game when it comes to design.
When it comes to specs the phones should be running Android 6.0 Marshmallow skinned with HTC Sense. The Lifestyle phone is supposedly the lower-tier version of the line, with a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 720p resolution. The rear main camera is said to be 13-megapixel with single LED flash, while the front camera offers 5-megapixel resolution. Both are capable of 1080p video recording.
Supposedly the phones will be launching at the end of September, but there are no definitive dates or prices for either model just yet, nor specs for the Desire 10 Pro. Either way, they both seem like pretty svelte models that would serve any smartphone user well.
HTC just can’t catch a break. The company’s smartphone sales are down, fuelling consecutive quarterly losses. To bounce back, HTC needs its latest flagship, the HTC 10, to pick up steam — and fast. But that’s unlikely to happen now that T-Mobile, one of the biggest carriers in the US, has quietly dropped the Android handset. It’s not clear exactly when the smartphone disappeared from store shelves, but a Reddit post has it pegged at July 21st. That’s only two months since the phone went on sale at the so-called “un-carrier.” The more worrying part is that barely anyone seemed to notice.
The HTC 10 is a phone the company can be proud of. The aluminium shell (one we’ve grown fond of since the M7) is supported with a fairly clean Android experience and some decent hardware under the hood. The camera is greatly improved too, although it doesn’t offer quite the same picture quality as the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. Still, it’s a phone that stands shoulder to shoulder with the LG G5 and other Android flagships. But, it would seem, a solid all-rounder just isn’t enough. Especially when OnePlus has a similar offering for almost a third cheaper.
Look hard enough and you might find a HTC 10 gathering dust in a T-Mobile store. These “limited quantities” are just that, however, and won’t be replenished in the weeks or months ahead. It’s a blow for the Taiwanese manufacturer — to survive, it’ll need to bank on sales coming from other carriers and countries. Otherwise, there’s always the next phone (maybe a new One A9?) provided HTC has the financial reserves to make it.
Via: Reddit, Android Police
In a bid to highlight immersive virtual reality experiences outside of games, HTC has announced Viveport, a new app store for its Vive headset. While Steam will remain the place to go for Vive VR games, Viveport will serve as your one-stop shop for things like education, travel, news and a wide variety of other experiences. It’ll be available on the web, mobile, Windows and, of course, right from within the Vive. HTC is launching a developer beta for Viveport soon (sign up for access here), and it plans to release it to consumers later this fall.
“We strongly believe VR is going to change the world for the better, for both consumers and businesses alike,” said Rikard Steiber, HTC’s senior VP of virtual reality. “We believe it’ll democratize access to experiences, now anyone can travel anywhere and learn anything in any way.”
While many of the apps in Viveport are already available on Steam, they’re a bit tough to find among all of the games on that platform. The new app store also has a cleaner, more consumer-friendly interface than Steam. Based on a few screenshots, it looks vaguely reminiscent of the Oculus Store app, which is a good thing. Viveport has already soft-launched in China, Steiber says, and it currently features around 100 apps.
Much like Valve open-sourced its Steam controller gamepad, it’s doing the same for the Vive VR headset’s stand-out feature. The company has recently opened up SteamVR’s room-scale 3D tracking system to anyone, as spotted by The Verge. Development kits include a pair of HTC Vive base stations; a “full complement of EVM circuit boards to enable rapid prototyping of your own tracked object” and 40 sensors for your tracked object that could be applied to a VR golf club or indoor drone, among other options.
On the FAQ page, Valve writes that there isn’t a catch for the company not charging licensing fees. And while that’s technically true, you do need to attend a $3,000 in-person training session in Seattle as part of the process. Valve hopes to allay that in the future, but for now, classes start in September, with Gabe Newell and Co. recommending that groups of industrial designers, and mechanical-and-electrical engineers attend rather than individuals. Those sessions start in September.
Honestly, they sound a bit like a college class and will have lecture and lab sessions covering SteamVR integration, troubleshooting and designing your own trackable objects. Are you ready to go back to school? Then maybe use Intel’s recent advancement in VR tracking for inspiration.
Via: The Verge
Source: Valve (1), (2)
HTC’s Vive VR headset and HTC 10 smartphone sold briskly in Q2 2016, boosting revenue 27 percent over last quarter to 18.9 billion Taiwanese dollars ($598 million). The bad news is that compared to the same period last year, sales are down 42.7 percent — not quite as bad as the 64 percent tumble last quarter, but still a precipitous drop. The company had an operating loss of 4.2 billion Taiwanese dollars ($133 million), making five straight quarters of futility.
HTC realized it had a hit on its hands with the Vive, and created a wholly-owned subsidiary called the HTC Vive Tech Corporation to manage it. It also created a $100 million fund to expand the ecosystem. Sales from the division still count toward overall company earnings, but HTC hasn’t said how many of the $800 headsets it has moved so far. It did get a piece of good news when Oculus removed DRM constraints from games, meaning they’ll work with the Vive and not just the Rift headset.
The well-received HTC 10 apparently sold well and the company is counting on that to continue. CFO Chialin Chang unofficially predicted a return to profitability by next quarter, but the company will need a Hail Mary to meet that goal.