Alphabet-owned Google is reportedly planning to announce a standalone Android VR headset at the Google I/O 2016 event due to be held next week. Former tech journalist Peter Rojas who tweeted the news says the headset may not be as powerful as the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift.
It has been known for quite a while now that Google has been working on its standalone VR headset but the launch date has been indicated for the first time. Given that Google through its video streaming service YouTube already has a decent stock of VR content out there it seems like the perfect timing to release the product. The company had only recently announced live streaming of videos in 360-degrees with spatial audio for ultimate VR experience.
As for what the device will entail, Rojas' tweet indicates that the Android VR headset does not match up to the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift, which means it will most likely mirror Samsung's Gear VR, which has been catching the eye of consumers due to its affordability compared to other sophisticated devices. For instance the Gear VR in UK costs a nominal £87 ($126) compared to the Vive that costs £689 and the Oculus Rift that costs £410. This means Google's VR product will much likely stay within the £100 bracket while aiming to take on Samsung Gear.
In terms of features a Wall Street Journal report back in February had indicated that Google's anticipated VR headset will use the Movidius chip to track the motion of the wearer's head. In addition to the standalone VR headset, Google also intends to release an advanced version of its Cardboard, which has already shipped more than five million units. The advanced Cardboard, which may be called Cardboard ++, will feature a plastic viewer, a computer chip and sensors.
The Google I/O event being chosen as the launchpad is not so much of a surprise as the company in its schedule for the event had already hinted at a plethora of VR sessions. In fact, most of the sessions at the event have been exclusively dedicated to virtual or augmented reality.