For whatever reason, HTC has decided to drop their plans for an HTC branded standalone Google Daydream VR headset. This was supposed to be an HTC / Google developed mobile headset based on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835. Poof! Gone.
Instead, HTC is purportedly developing their own Vive Focus stand-alone HMD which is also slated to be based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 and also features inside-out camera based positional tracking complete with its own hand controller. More than this, if / when released, the device will only be available in China.
Whether or not the device sees the light of day, it kind of raises the question of what the heck happened? In this author’s opinion, the mobile device makers are beholden to Google. Want to use the Google OS on your device? Sure! However, you need to bundle the Google Store. Don’t want to use the Google store? No problem – but you can’t use Google Maps or anything else that makes the OS special because that’s part of the license agreement.
If Google and HTC moved forward hand in hand with a similar relationship (a big if!), it’s very possible the relationship would have killed off any revenue benefits HTC could have had from their own internal software store separate from Google. Think about it – why purchase content from HTC’s store when the default Google operation has the same products with a wider audience reach? Or worse, why work with Google if they are busy shaking hands with your competitors?
We’re thinking that HTC is taking a lesson from Oculus’ playbook. Launch a stand-alone product that has no external dependencies other than content and audience, have your own branded store that only works for your product, and sell – sell – sell. For consumers, it then becomes a question of which product is better and has the strongest content offering. Google Daydream Stand-alone, HTC Focus, or Oculus Go / eventual Santa Cruz.
Just theorizing like everyone else. What do you think?