Update on April 21: HTC has confirmed to UploadVR the Vive Air VR headset is currently a concept and is not in development. An HTC spokesperson stated the iF Design Award was only given to the concept piece. However, the spokesperson claimed the "design language" of the Vive Air has elements and inspirations "you'll see elsewhere." There will be more to come on either May 11 or 12 at VIVECON 202 (opens in new tab)1 (opens in new tab). What follows is the original story.
HTC has been teasing a new VR headset after launching face trackers, but a new leak gives us a first look at its new "Vive Air." It is specifically designed for virtual fitness fans.
The iF Design Awards 2021 revealed a fitness-focused VR headset from HTC, and it's expected to launch sometime in 2021. According to the page, the headset will be available in Asia, Europe and North America.
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HTC Vive Air: What we know
The HTC Vive Air is all about fitness, with the leak indicating that the design of the new VR headset has been inspired by "sports shoes." It was made to be used for long periods of time, using knitted materials for comfort when sweating it out in VR.
The new headset has been "optimized for high intensity" workouts, designed to be lightweight so users can easily move around, and aims to improve ventilation by using breathable quick-drying fabrics.
Since it's being used for virtual fitness (think fitness apps such as Beat Saber or Creed: Rise to Glory), there's going to be a lot of sweat. HTC seems to have taken this into account by introducing a way to release the VR system from the head strap so the "soft components" can be washed.
While there's no mention of the device being wireless, photos indicate the Vive Air is a stand-alone wireless VR headset akin to the popular Oculus Quest 2.
There's no word if HTC will be releasing specific fitness games or additional accessories with the Vive Air, nor does the leak give a price. However, with the popularity of the Quest 2 continuing to sore at its $299 price point, we expect the new VR headset to be in the same ballpark.
The Vive Air's design doesn't match what HTC has been previously teasing on Twitter, specifically in terms of color. This suggests there may be more than one VR headset coming down the line. As always with leaks, we'll just have to wait and see until the VR company officially announces the fitness-focused headset.
(H/T Road to VR)