Google I/O 2017: Google Releases Standalone VR Headset

Meanwhile, it's still unclear what the first LG phone to support Daydream VR is, but it very well may be the V30. Support for the VR system on Samsung Electronics Co.'s new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus phones will be coming this summer, Google said. According to Clay Bavor, who heads up Google's VR team, both the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S8+ will get Daydream functionality this summer. The current version of the platform can apparently track users in 3D space, accurately identifying their movements without relying on external sensors. Anyone who's gone through the charade of watching 360-degree YouTube videos on a Samsung Gear VR will know what we mean. The platform was built into Android 7.1 Nougat for compatible smartphones that met the software and hardware specifications, designating them "Daydream-ready'".

As well as onboard CPU and GPU chips which will allow the headset to run apps on its own without tethering from another device, its rumoured it will pack its own sensors and will feature "inside-out positional tracking". All that set-up can be a pain, but this new venture hopes to get you into VR with a press of a button.

In October, we launched Daydream View, a VR headset that's comfortable and easy to use. HTC and Lenovo are already on board with Google and will launch their own dedicated headsets later in 2017.

Qualcomm also participating in the development of the headsets, but aside from working with Google to create a standalone headset reference design, which partners can use as a blueprint to build from, it's not clear whether the deal includes chip supply as well. Google announced the new VR headset during its annual Google I/O conference for developers in Mountain View, Calif. While the Google headset will undoubtedly target a different audience than the Vive or Rift, its potential for gaming and other graphically demanding applications is worth monitoring.

  • Arturo Norris