In a nutshell: HTC is looking to reclaim its position among the world's top smartphone manufacturers, and it aims to do so with a handset designed specifically with the metaverse in mind. Nobody has really mastered the VR / AR realm on mobile yet but if anyone has a solid shot, it's HTC with its extensive knowledge of the PC VR industry in its side pocket.
HTC Asia-Pacific general manager Charles Huang reportedly told DigiTimes (paywalled, via Android Authority) that the Taiwanese consumer electronics specialist will launch a "metaverse phone" in April. It's said to be a high-end offering, presumably something powerful enough to drive VR / AR applications.
Others have tried and failed. Google discontinued its Daydream virtual reality platform in late 2019. Samsung effectively killed off its Gear VR efforts a year later.
What HTC does have going for it is the fact that it's one of the top players in the PC virtual reality space with a solid catalog of content to work with. If the company could harness some of what it has learned and bring it over to mobile, things could get interesting.
HTC co-founder and Chairwoman Cher Wang recently outlined the company's version of the metaverse, which it calls Viverse. It's really no different than what other companies like Facebook are promising at this stage - a virtual world where you can go on adventures, share experiences with others, attend meetings and so on.
It's far too early to know if the metaverse will take off as many have predicted or sputter out before getting off the ground. At this stage, it seems as if one of the biggest hurdles could be fragmentation. With so many companies aiming to launch their own version, how are any of them expected to succeed?
Image credit James Yarema