Google is believed to be harbouring grand plans on virtual reality what with the search giant said to have started working on a new standalone VR headset, that privy to the matter revealed.
This would be in addition to the Cardboard successor that Google is already reported to be developing. Google had earlier announced it would go for integration of VR tech right into the core of the Android operating system, signalling a deeper push towards virtual reality in future from the company.
Coming to the new VR headset that Google has set its eyes on, it will essentially be a standalone device which means it won’t require tethering to a computer or a smartphone for its operation. While specifics are lacking at the moment, sources did mention the device will have a screen and an outward facing camera. The headset will also be endowed with high-end processing capabilities that are typical of virtual reality headsets.
The reports further detail a tie-up between Movidius, a start-up that too is based in California and will be providing the sensors to track head movement for use on the upcoming headset.
Also with the new headset, Google is reported to have adopted somewhat of a middle ground approach, slotting the device lower than the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vibe while still providing the convenience of standalone operations independent of external processing power.
Some of Google’s recent job postings that called for hardware engineering technical lead heading the project developing ‘system integration of high-performance, battery powered, highly constrained consumer electronics products’ does provide credence to the above even though there is no direct mention of VR.
Google’s first attempt at virtual reality headset has been the Cardboard. As its name implies, it was indeed made of cheap cardboard material with lenses fitted onto it. Also, it required to be mated to a smartphone for its functioning and was devoid of any tracking sensors of its own. Instead, it relied on the smartphone’s inbuilt sensors for its basic operations. It was a rudimentary device but was enough for providing anyone with the first taste of virtual reality.
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The California-based company is already working on another new VR headset which will have its own sensors and lenses packed in a rigid casing made of polycarbonate. The said device will also enjoy compatibility with a greater mix of Android devices than the Samsung Galaxy Gear VR that supports only a few smartphones that again are among the latest bunch from Samsung.
Google is believed to launch the Gear VR competitor along with the next iteration of Android during Google I/O conference scheduled later this year.
Virtual reality is fast emerging as the new frontier for tech companies to leave their mark on and companies like Oculus, Samsung, Sony, and HTC.