Google Developing Standalone Virtual Reality Headset, Upgraded Cardboard Viewer

As rumors circulate about Apple's secret work on virtual reality headset prototypes, Google is developing a standalone virtual reality headset, reports The Wall Street Journal. Google's virtual reality headset is not reliant on a smartphone, computer, or game console, unlike existing virtual reality products like the Oculus Rift, which requires a powerful computer, or its own Google Cardboard viewer, which requires a smartphone.

According to sources familiar with Google's work, the VR headset will feature a screen, high-powered processors, and a set of outward-facing cameras. Movidius chips that use the camera feed to track head motion will be included, alleviating the need for an external camera to track movement.

googlecardboard
Along with a standalone virtual reality headset, Google is also working on a "more advanced version" of the Cardboard, which will be made of plastic and will include computer chips and sensors. The updated version of the Cardboard will be released this year, perhaps in May, but The Wall Street Journal says the timing of the standalone headset is unclear. It could debut in 2016, but since it is early in the development process, Google could scrap it.

Google and others have shipped more than five million cardboard viewers since late 2014, helping introduce many consumers to technology that immerses them in experiences that seem to be all around them. The recent moves suggest Google now thinks virtual reality could become a moneymaker in both hardware and software.

Apple is rumored to have a team of several hundred employees working on augmented and virtual reality, exploring the ways the emerging technologies could be used in future Apple products. The company has reportedly created several virtual reality headset prototypes as part of its work.

Related Roundup: Apple Glasses

Top Rated Comments

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60 months ago

I am sure as soon as Samsung heard about this they also scrambled to put together a team to work on it. They will do all they can to be the first to market with a bad product full of useless bells and whistles.

Samsung already has a pretty elegant consumer product called the Gear VR. It uses a phone - but has its own sensors. Are being deliberately obtuse?
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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60 months ago
Sorry - but not exactly accurate to state "As rumors circulate about Apple's secret work on virtual reality headset ('https://www.macrumors.com/2016/01/29/apple-virtual-reality-headset/') prototypes..." as Google has been working and has indicated as such before these Apple rumors came to light. It reads as if Google is following Apple. I don't really care about who's first. But let's be factual, no?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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60 months ago
I think VR will be like 3DTV.... DOA on arrival.

I think it's cool, I'm just not sure there's enough commercial value.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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60 months ago

I have the Gear VR. Trust me, it's completely differ than wearing those 3D glasses. The VR is so immersive, after a quick moment, you'll forget you have it on. And the Gear VR is the bootleg experience. I can't wait to try the standalone Oculus.

Agreed. I also think that sensors, displays (a good reason for a phone to have 4k/8k screens too) and other tech will reduce the # of people who would typically get motion sickness from this kind of device. The Gear VR is light years ahead of cardboard in this respect and I suspect Oculus even more so. We're not there yet - but we will be no doubt.
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A standalone VR headset will suffer the same fate as Google Glass.

I disagree. Two completely different devices and types of use cases. VR and AR aren't necessarily the same.
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Wow, that is one truly ugly VR viewer.

Yeah - that free viewer made out of cardboard is really something to judge as if it's a product being sold to the public.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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60 months ago

Aw come on - it's $99 - it's almost a no brainer if you have a compatible device. The experience blows cardboard away. Just stop buying hot pockets this month ;)

Sure Sam. I'll get the Gear VR tomorrow. Now, when my wife questions "another damn unnecessary gadget purchase", I'm going to point her in your direction as the reason. When she kicks you in the grapes, maybe, just maybe you'll learn to be more fiscally responsible with my money... and she will kick you... in the grapes.

OT: I'm pretty sure the Gear VR is top notch since it was created in conjunction with Oculus. Oculus even advertises it on their website along side the Rift.
https://www.oculus.com/en-us/gear-vr/
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
60 months ago

"Google is also working on a "more advanced version" of the Cardboard, which will be made of plastic and will include computer chips and sensors"


Pshhhh...Apple's headset will be made of premium 7000 series aluminium with the British-English pronunciation. Take that, Google!

HAHA! True...

On the more serious side, I do think that Google's version is likely to come out within the year. I would imagine Apple's will be long after that. And there will be other players (including Google) upping their game.

I'm excited to watch this space for what happens.
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Sure Sam. I'll get the Gear VR tomorrow. Now, when my wife questions "another damn unnecessary gadget purchase", I'm going to point her in your direction as the reason. When she kicks you in the grapes, maybe, just maybe you'll learn to be more fiscally responsible with my money... and she will kick you... in the grapes.

OT: I'm pretty sure the Gear VR is top notch since it was created in conjunction with Oculus. Oculus even advertises it on their website along side the Rift.
https://www.oculus.com/en-us/gear-vr/

I am sure when you let her wear them and she can be surrounded by a 360 video (in 3d) of Tahiti or somewhere she'd love to go to get away from you - she'll deem it a fantastic purchase. And you'll never see her or it again.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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