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HTC's Cryptic 'for U' Tweet Could Signal a Move into Augmented Reality

Earlier this week, a mysterious tweet appeared on the HTC Twitter account of a picture containing the letter "U" topped with a tiny "for" and the date "01.12.2017" at the bottom. It is a pretty solid teaser, but for a company that has had a solid year with their Vive virtual reality headset, and all of the other technological appendages they have, it seems a bit ominous for them.

The day before the HTC tweet happened, news came out that Israeli-based Lumus announced a successful Series C round of funding for its augmented reality displays. The company had previously announced $15 million, but added another $30 million on top of that amount. And guess who's name is on the list of investors? That right, HTC.

Now, of course, this does not mean that HTC is going to announce their jump into augmented and mixed reality space. This is just me completely jumping to all kinds of conclusions. That said, I would not bet against the idea.

Aside from the coincidence mentioned above, here is why I feel a bet against HTC moving into AR and MR is a losing bet. Augmented reality really seemed to steal the thunder out from under virtual reality this year. Mostly, it's due to Pokémon GO and Snapchat, though the HoloLens definitely threw a spark or two. Regardless, the word augmented reality is becoming as much a part of the vernacular as virtual reality has been. This being the case, it seems safe reasoning for a technology company like HTC to make moves into the augmented reality market, especially after one of HTC's big competitors, Samsung, made a similar announcement just last week.

A scene from one of HTC's Vive Pre promos. Image by HTC/YouTube

One thing of note: January 12, 2017, is four days past the close of CES 2017. The Consumer Electronics Show is one of, if not the world's largest, electronics trade show. It is normally the place that many electronics companies make their big announcements for the year, in hopes that the buyers, journalists, and analysts will talk about their products.

Waiting to just before or just after a trade show such as CES can be a sound strategy if you have a large enough marketing department. Often it is easy for your message to get lost in the constant string of announcements that will be coming from CES—and there will likely be many. I suspect that will be a very busy week for me, even after canceling my trip to CES.

In the end, until January 12, all we can do is speculate.

Do you think HTC will be jumping into this pool or something else altogether? Let us know in the comments.

Cover photo by Justin Meyers/NextReality

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