Wednesday, 15 August 2018 10:48

HTC SDK brings in new wave of mobile VR possibilities

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Virtual reality headset manufacturer HTC has announced the open and free Wave SDK to provide developers, hardware vendors and end users an easy platform and content store.

The PC and premium virtual reality business remains highly important to HTC, but the company notes many use cases for simple, cordless VR exists. This includes consumers who do not want a high-end gaming device, as well as classroom use, automobile showrooms, and many other settings where lower complexity is a big advantage.

Dan O’Brien, general manager, VIVE, Americas Region, explained the Wave SDK — or software developer kit — accomplishes three chief goals:

  1. It is open and free and supports multiple all-in-ones and mobile VR headsets.
  2. It provides a platform for developers to target the Wave SDK and have a common store with common feature functionality that caters to a wide variety of devices. The SDK provides features like an embedded web browser, video player, leaderboards and multi-input support. “We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for developers to use one SDK and have a clear platform to work across multiple headsets, inputs and accessories,” O’Brien said.
  3. It provides easy monetisation for the developer. They can opt for payment models like pay for play, subscription, advertising or even simply free. HTC derives its revenue for hosting the store as a commission on sales, in line with other stores from Apple, Google, Microsoft, Steam and the rest, but unlike many other stores there is no cost to the developer to access or use the SDK in the first place, nor to publish through the store. Consequently, the barrier to entry for developers is extremely low.

Fifteen partners have signed up with HTC to use Wave as their platform and content store. “We wanted to create something that services our OEM partners in mobile and the all-in-one space that solves problems for them. They no longer have to figure out having a store, getting content, distributing it, paying developers, licensing and the rest. With this SDK we have solved it so other hardware partners can have access through the VivePort store and it gives them a platform to sell from.”

HTC’s own portable all-in-one VR headset, the Vive Focus, is available in China and parts of the Asia Pacific and will be made available in Western markets later this year under a consumer SKU and a professional SKU. The professional pricing will offer end-user licensing for business use and an enhanced warranty.

The HTC Vive Wave SDK and developer store is available now.

 

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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