The other day we told you that HTC, the company that made a name for itself by producing such iconic phones as the Touch Diamond, the Nexus One, and the HTC One (M8), would be
releasing its first new flagship in over three years as soon as next month. The last flagship HTC shipped was a blockchain-related handset called the Exodus 1.
The new phone is expected to include metaverse-related features which means that the phone will work with apps that focus on augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). The latter creates an artificial environment that the user can get immersed in. The former places a layer of computer-generated data on top of a real-life image. Think about Google Glass as a good example of AR.
HTC video reveals the future of the metaverse that it calls Viverse
During MWC, HTC announced its version of the metaverse which it cleverly calls Viverse after its popular Vive VR headsets. While we are just taking a guess here, we could see some parts of Vive integrated into the upcoming phone. HTC needs to do something as it has been spilling so much red ink every quarter of every year that reading the company’s financials will remind you of those elevator scenes in The Shining.
To promote the Viverse, HTC has released a video called Viverse-A Day in the Metaverse with VR, AR, AI, 5G & NFTs.” The three-minute clip starts innocently enough with a woman on a treadmill seemingly at a gym. A screen in front of the woman monitors her blood pressure, the length of time that she was walking for, and the distance covered. You’ll notice that she is wearing a fashionable pair of glasses that are most likely smart glasses.
Later, at home, she taps her glasses, and thanks to VR she converts her home into a Starbucks-like coffee shop and is reminded that she is supposed to virtually attend a quarterly meeting being held in VR. Later, she receives a virtual invitation to a wine tasting party which she accepts. She accepts another invite to meet up with Nathan to attend a rap concert and joins her grandmother at a virtual Cat Art museum.
At the museum, the granddaughter purchases a gift for her grandmother, an NFT of a cat painting called Meowna Lisa. An NFT, or Non-fungible token, is a digital asset that represents a real-world object. They are bought and traded and sometimes big money is involved.
The video comes to a close with the grandmother looking over a virtual invitation to attend another museum exhibit soon from her granddaughter who happens to be named Lilly. Note that the gifted NFT is floating in the background.
For a company drowning in red ink, HTC is quite ambitious
At the end of the video, HTC says, “The gift of infinite time, infinite space, and infinite love in Viverse.” Going beyond what HTC said at the end of the video, the company explained the video on YouTube thusly, “What if, using any device, you could safely and seamlessly connect with others across the physical, digital, and virtual worlds?”
“Join us for a brief look into a future where the impossible becomes possible,” HTC states. “Transform your immediate surroundings at will. Meet your idol at a holographic concert.”
HTC wraps things up by writing, “Explore a new dimension of immersive experiences like the ‘Step into Cat Art’ online museum. Technologies like VR, AR, AI, 5G, and blockchain are your links to this new reality. We call this reality VIVERSE.”
This is quite ambitious for a company that lost its mojo in the smartphone world. If Vive hadn’t become a success for HTC, the company probably wouldn’t be around. But there are still consumers who remember phones like the One (M8) and are willing to give the company one more chance to deliver a real flagship phone will rel flagship specs. Let’s hope this time HTC gets it right.