Virtual reality is starting to take off in a big way, and we've got an unlikely player in the game. HTC — known, of course, for its smartphones — has teamed up with Valve for the HTC Vive. It's a PC-based virtual reality system that employs a visor and dual hand controls for a totally immersive VR experience. This isn't just a smartphone tucked into a visor or anything. This is powerful stuff.

Enabling you to stay connected to the real world, without exiting the virtual world, Vive Phone Services demonstrates the ability to combine both realities without losing touch of either. By allowing you to receive and respond to both incoming and missed calls, get text messages and send quick replies and check upcoming calendar invites directly through the headset, it creates a hybrid reality opening up a whole new world of possibilities for both consumers and businesses.

While we originally anticipated a consumer release of the Vive before the end of 2015, it didn't begin shipping globally until 2016. The Vive initially launched in 24 countries including The U.S., Canada, UK, Germany, France, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, Ireland, Sweden, Taiwan, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

On February 29, 2016, the Vive went up for pre-order for $799. The set includes a pair of wireless lightboxes, a pair of wireless controllers, and all the necessary wires and boxes . You also get three games, one of which is Google's incredible 3D-painting Tilt Brush experience.

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