Technology firm HTC's CEO, Cher Wang, is convinced that virtual reality will become more important than smartphones in 2016. She expects the HTC Vive, its own virtual reality goggles, to sell well.
Lower smartphone sales
HTC turned its attention to virtual reality when its own smartphone sales started lagging. "Our flagship is in direct competition with several others, we have had some problems with it for two years", Wang admitted in an interview with The Telegraph. "I think the problem was competition – Apple, Xiaomi, these companies spend tons of money on communications and marketing."
HTC developed its virtual reality goggles in a collaboration with gaming company Valve, which also owns Steam, the world's largest digital games distributor. It is not known how much the HTC Vive will cost, but analysts expect the market to become a multi-billion dollar industry, with an estimated 3.8 billion dollar (3.5 billion euro) turnover.
HTC is not the only company focused on VR, not even the only smartphone manufacturer to do so. Previously, Samsung launched its own version, Samsung Gear VR, compatible with its own smartphones. Sony will also launch its own VR glasses, for its PlayStation 4 console, while Google has its Google Cardboard as a cheap alternative.
The pricing for the Oculus Rift, another competitor, was also revealed recently. Those glasses launched the hype several years ago, when its prototype was announced on crowdfunding website Kickstarter. The first consumer editions are now for sale for more than 700 euro, but HTC has always said it will probably be more expensive than Oculus Rift.