A full fledged PC on a backpack is one way to go for untethered VR, but not a very practical one. Well, those efforts by MSI and others may have just been rendered obsolete by HTC with a new clip on device called TPCast — developed under the Vive X accelerator program — that essentially upgrades the Vive into a wireless headset.
A preview version of the kit was shown off today at Alibaba’s “11/11” global shopping festival in Shenzhen, China. The upgrade kit will be available to pre-order on Vive’s Chinese website “in limited quantity” for 1,499 RMB (about $220), with shipments planned for Q1 2017.
Order fulfillment will be prioritized to existing customers who can provide a valid Vive serial number. There’s no word on international availability yet, though depending on how well TPCast’s technology works, we can imagine a wider rollout would follow.
Speaking to UploadVR, China Regional President of Vive at HTC, Alvin W. Graylin said that there is “no noticeable difference” in latency when using the TPCast peripheral. Regarding battery life, Graylin says the regular battery can deliver about an hour and a half of power, with a bigger battery designed to be carried in users’ pockets coming later.