HTC prepares Vive VR for the 5G future in China

The company has launched an initiative that could lead to new applications for virtual reality.

A lot more people might buy standalone VR headsets like HTC's Vive Focus if they have access to faster and stronger mobile internet connection. That's why HTC has teamed up with China Mobile (CMCC) to launch the "5G Devices Forerunner Initiative," which aims to conduct large scale tests of pre-commercial 5G devices. HTC Chairperson Cher Wang said: "With the coming advancements in next-generation mobile technologies, the proliferation of 5G networks will facilitate new classes of use cases for VR/AR not possible in the past, leading to more rapid mass adoption and more natural interaction models for immersive technologies..."

The partners are hoping that the project can discover and lead to the development of new applications for virtual reality before 5G's commercial rollout in 2020. Any new applications and uses they conjure up are bound to make their way to the rest of the world, so we could all benefit from the initiative. In addition to working on the 5G project, CMCC will also help HTC boost its sales in China. As the largest of the three major Chinese carriers, there's probably no better company to help the Taiwanese manufacturer regain its lost popularity in the country.

HTC and CMCC have announced their partnership at the Mobile World Congress in Shanghai, where the manufacturer has also launched the VR guitar rhythm game Flashing Beat. Its most unique and intriguing aspect is that it uses an Android phone as a VR controller: so long you download its accompanying app to that device, you can use the phone to play the chords and Vive's actual controller as the pick, like this:

Unfortunately, the Vive Focus isn't available outside of China yet, so you can't buy the VR headset right now to be able to pretend to be a rockstar with just a phone and a guitar-shaped cardboard. HTC intends to launch it internationally later this year, though, so you might not have to wait that long for the opportunity. You can also look forward to a multi-player game called Crazy Escape that allows you to play against friends even if you only have one VR headset between you.

You can also play VR hit Beat Saber on the device, but it needs a software called VRidge, which lets you stream PC-based games to the standalone headset.