Why it matters: HTC as promised has introduced a new smartphone built around its take on the metaverse. Its biggest selling point is its tie-in with Viverse, the metaverse ecosystem HTC introduced earlier this year. The company says user will be able to visit Viverse communities using the phone's browser or pair it with an HTC Vive Flow headset to explore them in virtual reality.

The HTC Desire 22 Pro is a decidedly mid-range phone. It sports a 6.6-inch display (1,080 x 2,412 pixels) operating at 120Hz that's powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 695 5G SoC along with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage (expandable via microSD card).

Around back, you'll find a triple camera array comprised of a 64-megapixel sensor with f/1.79 aperture, a 13-megapixel camera with f/2.4 aperture lens and a 5-megapixel depth-sensing shooter with f/2.4 aperture.

Other quick-hitting features include a 32-megapixel f/2.0 front-facing camera, NFC, Bluetooth 5.1, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi (2.4 & 5GHz), USB-C connectivity and a 4520mAh battery with wireless charging and reverse wireless charging. It'll ship running Android 12 out of the box and carries an IP67 rating against liquid and dust.

It's still too early to predict how this whole metaverse thing will play out. Several companies are jockeying to become the leading platform provider but at this stage, it's looking increasingly likely that fragmentation could hold everyone back from gaining any significant traction.

The HTC Desire 22 Pro is available to pre-order in select markets including Taiwan and the UK. Pricing starts at £399.00 (around $487) with the first wave of orders slated to ship on August 1.