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HTC Unveils New VR-Focused Viveport M Storefront For Android Devices

18 October 2016, 9:47 am EDT By Horia Ungureanu Tech Times
HTC announces that it has opened up Viveport M, a storefront for Android mobile devices. The move is supposed to help the company be ahead of the pack and let developers and customers enjoy more mobile VR experiences.  ( HTC )

HTC is determined to make its VR catch on, and the company plans to bring its experience to mobile handsets. The enterprise is already building the ecosystem and infrastructure that will give it an edge over its rivals.

So far, the company was hesitant to put its foot forward in the VR space, despite acknowledging the opportunities that the mobile market holds for virtual reality. That is about to change, as the company recently unveiled the mobile version of its Viveport VR storefront for Android phones.

Viveport M will act as a hub for VR-centered apps and 360° content, allowing users to enjoy the new experiences, with or without special headsets. The first market rollout is scheduled for China, but the company promises that global deployment is in tow.

HTC's ambition is to define itself as more than simply a hardware-builder for VR, as the company aims to craft itself into the infrastructure of virtual reality content.

Despite HTC's Vive headset being a go-to choice for both consumers and developers, it is meeting stark competition from the pricey Oculus Rift. The VR experience of Oculus will get a welcome expansion soon, as the company will roll out its Touch motion controllers at the beginning of December.

At the end of September, HTC opened up the Viveport VR app store for desktop users worldwide.

The company seeks to define itself as different from rivals at Valve and Steam, and deploying a storefront on an ecosystem that they don't sell a headset for is intriguing. It is not hard to connect the dots and see that HTC's plan is to sync with Daydream that is scheduled for next month, alongside Google's Pixel flagship phone. As a reminder, HTC was involved in crafting the phone, but the main (and small) directions came from Google.

Daydream is expected to help average consumers enjoy VR a lot, with a little help from Pixel's low-latency VR mode. The smartphones will come with a pre-installed Android Nougat OS, which will also aid the VR experience.

Viveport M should make HTC more nimble when selling content is involved, but the competition with Google's Daydream announces itself to be a harsh one. The Play Store will probably be bombarded with proposals from developers trying to tap into Daydream's increasing popularity.

It remains to be seen how HTC navigates the vast seas of VR apps and content, and due to strong competition from Facebook's Oculus we might see Viveport M making bolder steps into the future.

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