Taipei, Aug. 13 (CNA) Taiwan-based smartphone brand HTC Corp., which has extended its operations into virtual reality business, is set to roll out in Taiwan the Vive Mars CamTrack, a solution that can be used by the film production industry to produce virtual content.
HTC, which launched its first VR headset — the HTC Vive — in 2015, and more models thereafter, said earlier this week in a statement that the new gadget is already available in the U.S., Canadian and European markets, and will hit markets in Taiwan, China, Australia, Japan and South Korea in the coming months, with the expectation that it will boost company revenue.
The VIVE Mars CamTrack allows studios of all sizes to roll out professional-grade virtual production content “more easily, flexibly and affordably than ever before,” HTC said.
The company’s Mars team has added support for the popular FreeD protocol to provide better services to the virtual production community, HTC added, noting that FreeD is an industry standard protocol for camera positional data used by established augmented reality (AR) and extended reality (XR) solution providers.
The VIVE Mars CamTrack includes a full suite of professional-grade features at an affordable price that lowers the barrier to entry for studios of all sizes to leverage virtual production, HTC said.
With the VIVE Mars CamTrack, “everyone who wants to bring their vision to life on the screen should have the opportunity to do so,” Raymond Pao (鮑永哲), senior vice president at HTC VIVE, said in the statement. “That’s our goal behind VIVE Mars CamTrack.”
Despite HTC’s efforts to diversity its product mix to cover the VR business and even to explore business opportunities in the so-called “metaverse,” the smartphone brand still incurred losses as the new business accounts for only a small fraction of company revenue which faces escalating competition in the global smartphone market, analysts said.
In the second quarter of this year, HTC posted NT$750 million (US$25 million) in net losses or NT$0.91 in loss per share, while its gross margin — the difference between revenue and cost of goods sold — improved from 37.8 percent to 39.2 percent in the first quarter.
In the first half of this year, HTC’s loss per share stood at NT$1.83.
HTC has made a loss every year since 2015 with the exception of 2018, when it reported a profit because of a one-time gain of US$1 billion from the sale of its smartphone ODM assets to Google Inc.
In July, HTC generated NT$305 million in consolidated sales, down 38.6 percent from a month earlier and also down 18.54 percent from a year earlier as shipments of its first metaverse smartphone the HTC Desire 22 Pro, which hit the Taiwan market in June, started to fade.
In the first seven months of this year, HTC’s consolidated sales fell 16.6 percent from a year earlier to NT$2.42 billion.