Google Rumored to Debut Standalone VR Headset

Posted May 19, 2017

Google has announced that it has partnered to develop two virtual reality headsets that will work as standalone devices.

Daydream VR has so far been an experience that has run on your smartphone, but now it's making the jump into a standalone headset. Rather having to resort to your phone, you'll be able to switch Wi-Fi networks, check notifications, access quick settings, view web content, and more right from the Daydream VR UI that Google's upcoming VR headsets will use. 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 tech giant said it's working with Lenovo and HTC to build a new breed of VR headsets, created to work without a phone or separate computer. While there might not be a reference point for a Lenovo VR headset, HTC's Vive team already has their foot in the door with a fairly expensive offering set at $799. "WorldSense enables positional tracking, meaning the headset tracks your precise movements in space - and it does this all without any external sensors to install". At this year's event, the tech giant announced a key update to its virtual reality (VR) platform, which will see standalone Daydream VR headsets operating without reliance on smartphones or PCs.

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. Standalone headsets don't require a phone or PC. Now, before Google I/O 2017 kicks off on May 17, those rumors have re-surfaced, claiming that the device could be ready for a preview at the conference today. The first of these headsets are expected to hit shelves later this year. A report published by Backchannel says the devices should be here later this year, which matches what we were told on stage.