Google's standalone VR headsets don't even need smartphones

Posted May 19, 2017

Unlike the Daydream View, Google's rumoured headset with be a stand alone VR device, meaning no phone or PC is required. "The hardware is fully optimised for VR, and features a new headset tracking technology called WorldSense".

Google has reportedly been working on the headset for more than a year. 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.

In addition, the headsets will be truly standalone, in that they will not only not require using a smartphone or tethering to a personal computer to operate, such as is now the case with Facebook Inc. -owned Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. It's possible on the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, two more expensive headsets, but requires cords connected to a TV.

Equipped with WorldSense, the standalone VR headsets take zero effort to setup, provided there's nothing to pair.

At Google's I/O 2017 developer conference, the search giant also revealed it will be working with Lenovo and HTC to produce Daydream headsets that do no require an Android smartphone to act as the VR engine for the headset. To use it, you will need a Tango-enabled device, such as the ASUS ZenFone AR that will be available later this summer.

Google also announced new AR functionalities for Chrome too, showing off a demo with e-commerce retailer Wayfair.

We haven't exactly heard much with regards to Daydream from Google's partners since the project was first announced previous year, with the only high-profile devices being Google's own Pixel devices, the LG G6, Moto Z family and the ASUS ZenFone AR. The first of these headsets are expected to hit shelves later this year.

That's a big difference from some existing VR headsets, such as the Samsung Gear and Google's own previous headset, which are basically fancy cases with special lenses that a user slides a phone into.