Google has always been one to promote technology and make it accessible to all. And one such tech Google introduced is Cardboard, the cheap and handy alternative to a VR headset released by Google a couple years ago. But, as reports now suggest, Google is moving away from the Cardboard Box and will be launching a Standalone VR Headset at I/O Conference next week.
As earlier reports suggest, Google had posted job listings to hire engineers to build a brand new VR headset from the ground up. The news has now been confirmed via a tweet by the former tech journalist Peter Rojas. In his tweet, Rojas mentions that he has received definite confirmation about the launch of a VR headset at Google I/O 2016 from multiple news sources.
Android VR will definitely be announced next week, and from what I’ve heard will be less powerful than the Vive or Rift.
— Peter Rojas (@peterrojas) May 11, 2016
Rojas also mentions that the new Google VR headset will be more functional and powerful than the Google Cardboard. But, will be less powerful and lack certain functionality when compared to the VR market leaders like Samsung, HTC and Oculus. This is believable because a Standalone VR headset running on Android cannot process graphics exactly like the Rift devices, which require a high-end gaming PC to power the device.
So, due to its standalone nature Google’s new VR headset will be able to match the high end VR technologies in terms of pixel output and optics, but performance will be compromised. The key lookout will be the price point of this new Standalone VR device. Google had been able to hit that ‘sweet-spot’ with the Cardboard by leveraging the simple technology which could be paired with most Android devices, to offer a decent VR experience at just $25.
With companies like Samsung offering a cheaper version of the Oculus, called the Gear VR at just $99 to all customers has been a fruitful proposition. As reports suggest, the Gear VR now has about 1 million users using the platform which has been made possible by offering free headsets along with the Samsung Galaxy S7 Series. A plan set in motion by the partnership between Facebook and Samsung to drive the VR technology wave among the masses.
Google has spent a good two years on upgrading the VR headset and is all set to launch it at the I/O event this year. The standalone aspect of the VR headset has also been confirmed because the Second Android N Developer Preview saw the addition of VR helper services. This confirms the fact the Google VR headset will be compatible with most Android devices, as compared to the Gear VR which works only with a handful of Galaxy devices. The Wall Street Journal also reports that Google might be working on a redesigned version of Android to power their VR applications.
If Google is able to hit that ‘sweet spot’ again and offer a sparkling new standalone VR headset requiring only an Android phone to watch VR content, then it could easily take on the likes of Gear VR and beat it at its own game. But, what will be more important to see is the developers coming forward to build and promote VR content on the platform. And we are certain to see a lot of developers tools and VR related announcements at I/O this year.
We’re hoping to see a lot of new updated software and API’s to be reveled at the I/O Conference 2016. Updates on Android N, Android Wear and spanking new hardware, if any has gotten us all very excited. So, stay tuned and return back for more updates because TheTechPortal will be reporting the event live in all its entirety.