Consumers with an interest in VR currently have two options: The high-end systems, such as the Oculus Rift, have their own displays and are powered by a computer. The more portable systems, like the Samsung Gear VR, are powered by your smartphone and use it as a display. There hasn't been much to bridge this gap in VR systems until now.
Enter the HTC Link, which stands in between the two types of VR that are currently available. It connects with a smartphone -- the company's flagship U11 -- but has its own display. It also offers a full range of motion, promising six degrees of freedom (6DOF) in a two-meter by two-meter square space, which hasn't been available in smartphone-powered VR devices.
The device promises to be "cableless," though it will still connect to your phone and an external camera. Unlike the Vive's system, the Link's headset and controllers have PlayStation VR-style lights that will likely be tracked via an external sensor. For the screen, the HTC Link boasts two 3.6-inch AMOLED panels with 1080 x 1200 resolution and a 90-Hz refresh rate, which is the same as the Oculus Rift and the Vive.
The catch? As of right now, it's only available in Japan.
Additionally, the specs and features of the HTC Link could be a challenge for developers, and it will be interesting to see the differences between this and the standalone HTC Vive Daydream VR headsets. The real question is what the debut of the HTC Link might mean for VR. Could this device be the answer to the tension between a high-end VR experience and the desire for affordability? We don't have pricing details on the HTC Link yet, but it's possible.