Cher Wang, Chairman, Co-Founder and CEO of HTC, will speak during the second day keynote of Mobile World Congress 2023.
Joanne Cross | Nurphoto | Nurphoto by Getty Images
Speaking to CNBC at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, HTC CEO and co-founder Cher Wang said the Cupertino tech giant will launch a mixed reality (XR) product “soon,” possibly later this year. said it was likely to. XR refers to technology that blends the physical and digital worlds.
“I think the fastest [release date] It could be in the middle or the second half of this year,” Wang said.
The company will likely prioritize such devices over augmented reality glasses, she added.
Apple did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
it has Plans to launch AR glasses reportedly suspended indefinitely The company has long been rumored to be working on its own virtual and augmented reality experiences. In January, Bloomberg reported Preparing for mixed reality headset release in spring.
Apple often lags behind others in getting into certain product trends and features. For example, he didn’t have a camera with his two lenses on his iPhone until 2017, a few years after HTC introduced dual his cameras in his HTC One M8 handset in 2014. .
“Apple is always cautious. I think the market is big enough.” [that] They will probably enter,” said the king.
But when Apple finally enters new product categories, it tends to “redefine how everyone thinks about opportunities,” said Leo Gebbie, principal analyst for connected devices at CCS Insight. increase.
Neil Shah, research vice president at Counterpoint Research, told CNBC:
“Apple and the industry as a whole see the potential, so we want to enter and ultimately lead in this segment,” he added.
Apple isn’t the only company getting into the XR game. In October, Meta launched his $1,500 Quest Pro device. It allows users to interact with virtual objects that display the world around them in full color.
Earlier this week, a Samsung executive said the South Korean electronics giant was “working out” a mixed reality strategy. microsoft It has its own mixed reality headset called HoloLens.Chinese smartphone maker on Monday Xiaomi unwrapped Prototype set of augmented reality glasses.
This means more competition for HTC. Data from Counterpoint Research shows that the company shipped more than 100,000 of its XR devices in the second quarter of 2022, up 158% from 40,000 shipped in the same period last year. However, its market share remains relatively small.
If anything, Wang believes that Apple, Meta, Samsung and others moving out of this space will boost the overall adoption of mixed reality devices, which will benefit HTC’s business, she said. I’m watching it.
“It really proved that we were heading in the right direction,” she said. “Competition is always a good thing.”
Once a major player in the smartphone market, HTC has bet its future on the convergence of the virtual and physical worlds. In January, the company launched his Vive XR Elite device, a lightweight headset focused on gaming, fitness and productivity, priced at $1,099.
HTC sold part of its smartphone business to Google for $1.1 billion in 2018.
Longer term, these devices will be the way we interact with the massive virtual world known as the ‘metaverse’. HTC has its own so-called metaverse, named HTC Viverse, and the company spoke about its ambitions in this space on this week’s show.
“The metaverse is kind of growing with so many social media companies and walled garden companies trying to build their own,” said Shen Ye, head of global product at HTC. told CNBC. “Our goal is to make sure we are as open and interconnected as possible.”
Talk of the metaverse has calmed down recently as the initial hype surrounding Meta’s involvement has faded. Sales of VR headsets and augmented reality devices fell more than 12% last year, according to IDC data.
Instead, companies are turning to artificial intelligence, the new hot tech topic that ChatGPT has catapulted to the top of industry insiders’ favorite trends. Popular AI chatbotAt MWC, a Korean telecommunications company SK Telecom There was a big sign that said “AI METAVERSE”.
Wearing one of HTC’s XR devices, users can immerse themselves in virtual spaces and interact with 3D objects in the physical space around them.
In one experience showcased at MWC, people were invited to put their boxing skills to the test. You’ll see a grid of nine black circles that light up red one after another in random order to score how fast you can punch them.
HTC sees the technology beyond the consumer space to offer applications in more commercial and industrial settings. Wang said the company is working with the U.S. Air Force and police to conduct virtual training experiences.