Buried at the end of an HTC promotional video leaked on Twitter this weekend is the image of what appears to be a smartphone branded as “HTC Vive.”
However, a smartphone with some kind of native VR functionality would not only be a huge development, it would represent a smart move forward as the VR industry continues to focus on the smartphone as the engine of broad user adoption of VR versus the pricier, high-end VR headsets.
Those industry trends were buttressed this holiday season when, according to some estimates, the Samsung Gear VR device, which needs a mobile phone to work, outsold the HTC Vive, the PlayStation VR and the Oculus Rift.
The HTC video, surfaced by Evan Blass on Saturday, may be a hint at what’s coming at the company’s January 12 event.
HTC hasn’t addressed the video’s contents, but if it turns out to be a VR-friendly smartphone, it could offer major competition for Samsung’s Gear VR and Google’s Daydream View and Pixel mobile VR ecosystem. We’ll likely know either way later this week.