No, HTC isn’t about to reveal a HTC Vive phone

HTC has been teasing an upcoming 12 January announcement for a while now and, while its cryptic “for U” message hasn’t been cracked yet, it’s quite clear it has no intention of revealing a “HTC Vive”-branded phone as some rumours suggest.

For those not in the know, HTC’s “Vive” brand relates to its virtual-reality headset and its VR-based endeavours. A HTC Vive-branded phone would, therefore, indicate that its primary use is VR, more than likely Google’s Daydream mobile VR system. However, don’t expect a Vive smartphone any time soon, as it just isn’t going to happen.

Initial rumours around a HTC Vive phone came from a promo video shared by renowned tech-device-leaker Evan Blass showcasing various HTC concept phones – one of which was a HTC Vive phone. Knowing Blass, along with his teasing statement of “HTC 2017?”, it would certainly give the impression that we’ll be seeing a Vive phone on 12 January.

However, dig a little deeper and it turns out that video has been publicly available since June 2016. The video, which has since been removed from Vimeo, was created and uploaded by former HTC visual/motion designer Shaun Saperstein. According to Saperstein’s LinkedIn page, he stopped working full-time at HTC as of June of last year, becoming a contractor instead, with tasks focusing on HTC concept work and motion design.

Another nail in the coffin of the HTC Vive phone rumours has been dug up by Android Authority, who discovered that Danelle Vermeulen, another HTC graphic designer, has been posting concept videos for a device known as the HTC Ocean. If you’re wondering why HTC is allowing such confidential information to be in the public domain, it’s most likely because they’re little more than pet projects from each designer. One look at Saperstein’s Vimeo page shows he’s only using it as a means to maintain a personal portfolio of design work.

If that wasn’t damning enough evidence against the existence of a HTC Vive phone, it’s also worth remembering that HTC’s smartphone and devices arm and virtual-reality device and research arm are two separate companies. The split, which was confirmed in June last year, saw HTC’s Vive division spun off into the wholly owned subsidiary of HTC Vive Tech Corporation, with HTC retaining focus on non-VR products.

This shift means that while the Vive brand and team are still ultimately under the HTC company umbrella, you won’t be finding Vive-branded products coming out of HTC – that’s all the Vive Tech Corporation’s game. Because of this, you shouldn’t expect HTC to be rolling out a Vive-branded smartphone come 12 January.

Of course, that doesn’t actually clear up the fact that we still don’t know what “For U” could really mean. Thankfully, we only have a few days left to wait to find out.

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