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Google announces standalone Daydream VR headsets

19 May, 2017, 05:45 | Author: Nadine Todd

While some might have been expecting or hoping for a standalone Daydream headset to be priced somewhere in the middle of the already available Daydream View and more expensive PC-based virtual reality offerings, it seems that won't be the case. Most notably, Daydream, Google's VR platform, will soon support a new category of standalone VR headsets with partners HTC and Lenovo. That means it can track headset movements in space, without the need for an external sensor. Qualcomm is working on a "reference design" for the generalized platform, while HTC and Lenovo will have the first consumer units ready for later in 2017. The tracking system, called WorldSense, has 6 degrees-of-freedom so users can move about freely instead of more limited platforms like Cardboard and Daydream which only allow users to look around from a fixed point. The company will have an even tougher time with standalone headsets, given that Oculus and Vive have big game developers behind them, which Google will have to win over if its VR strategy is to succeed.

To improve the user interface, Google is adding a new dashboard in virtual reality that adds quick access to settings (like switching Wi-Fi networks) and notifications. Unlike its Daydream headsets, which are powered by a phone, this devices is all self-contained. This is enabled by sensors on the outside of the device, aiming to help you feel like you're actually in the virtual world. Google also shared a small tidbit: Developers have built "more than 150 apps" for Daydream so far. At Google I/O 2017, which is now happening in Mountain View, California, the company said it is working with HTC and Lenovo on a standalone VR headset, complete with position tracking.

This time past year, Google introduced Daydream, a VR platform for Android devices that was built right into Android Nougat and supported by Google's own viewer hardware, the Daydream View.

The first three major systems all launched for the first time past year - HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR.

The Google I/O 2017 is now happening in Mountain View, California and has already racked up more than its fair share of eyebrows.

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