At this year's Consumer Electronics Show, HTC introduced a next-generation virtual reality headset, the HTC Vive Pro. The Vive Pro features two OLED displays with a resolution of 2880 x 1600 and 615 pixels per inch, a 78 percent increase from the 2160 x 1200 resolution of the current Vive headset.
HTC says the higher resolution will bring sharper text and graphics for an improved overall experience.
The Vive Pro is designed to be lighter than the existing Vive, with integrated high-performance headphones and a more comfortable headstrap with a sizing dial. Dual microphones and active noice cancellation improve communication, and dual front-facing cameras are included, too.
HTC is also introducing a new Vive Wireless Adaptor which to bring wireless VR headset integration that will work with both the Vive and the Vive Pro.
HTC didn't provide pricing or release date details on its new Vive Pro headset, but says additional information will be introduced in the future.
Apple is not yet competing in the AR/VR wearable space with companies like HTC and Facebook/Oculus, but the company is rumored to be hard at work on its own augmented reality headset or smart glasses. Apple's headset is still at least a year away, but it's said to include a dedicated display, a built-in processor, and an "rOS" operating system.
It's possible Apple's headset will include some virtual reality elements as Apple recently purchased VRvana, a startup that developed a mixed reality headset called Totem. Totem, never released to the public, was designed to combine both augmented and virtual reality technologies in a single headset.
Under terms of the agreement "a team of HTC talent" will join Google's hardware organization. The HTC employees moving to Google worked as part of the "Powered by HTC" unit that developed the Google Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones. Google also gained a non-exclusive license for HTC intellectual property.
"These future fellow Googlers are amazing folks we've already been working with closely on the Pixel smartphone line, and we're excited to see what we can do together as one team," said Google SVP of hardware Rick Osterloh.
While part of HTC's mobile unit is moving to Google, HTC will continue to develop and sell HTC-branded smartphones. HTC says the sale will allow for a "more streamlined product portfolio," and that its next-generation flagship phone is already in development.
Google's HTC purchase marks its second major smartphone-related acquisition. Google purchased Motorola Mobility in August of 2011 for $12.5 billion, mainly to get Motorola's patents, and in 2014 sold the company to Lenovo for $2.91 billion.
With the acquisition of the HTC hardware team, Google will be able to more closely mimic Apple's strategy of close integration between software and hardware.