The biggest threat to arguably the best “first-wave” virtual reality headset may actually come from the inside rather than China, as the leading creative mind behind the HTC Vive just tweeted his company departure mere hours after Mark Zuckerberg and Hugo Barra made the latter’s Oculus recruitment official.
Now, Barra’s résumé is all kinds of impressive, but Claude Zellweger was directly in charge of Vive’s design, as well as brand strategy and execution, before joining Google to presumably spearhead Daydream development going forward.
Zellweger was one of three One & co owners that moved to HTC when the design agency and its “international team of innovators” were acquired by the Taiwanese consumer electronics giant back in 2008.
The other two? Former Senior Vice President of Design and User Experience Scott Croyle, now Nextbit’s Chief Product and Design Officer, and ex-Associate VP of Industrial Design Jonah Becker, who transferred to Fitbit a couple of years ago to manage the wearable market leader’s Industrial Design department.
For his part, Claude Zellweger has played a central role in fashioning not only the HTC Vive, but many of the company’s flagship phones in recent years, including the beautiful 2016-released 10. Clearly, Google is going to greatly benefit from his talent and expertise, as it reportedly plans to build a standalone, all-in-one VR device running an evolved version of the Daydream software platform.