Virtual reality is quickly becoming one of the most competitive realms of technology. The long-awaited Oculus Rift is finally coming to market and other competitors such as Samsung, HTC and Valve are entering the scene to get in on the action. Google was one of the first companies to release a VR headset with Google Cardboard, its low-cost alternative to other more expensive devices. Cardboard took off in a much bigger way than Google expected, leading the company to do some reorganizing in order to place a larger focus on virtual reality.
According to a report from the Financial Times, Google is in the midst of developing a more advance VR headset. This new VR headset will be far more sophisticated than Google Cardboard and will compete directly with Samsung’s Gear VR, and also with higher-priced devices like the Oculus Rift.
Much like the Gear VR, Google’s headset will be smartphone-based, allowing users to insert a smartphone to act as the display and processor. The new VR headset will be a successor to Cardboard, but will be more practically-oriented and advanced. It will feature improved lenses, a stronger plastic casing and more advanced motion sensors.
In addition to the new motion sensors, Google will be integrating VR software directly into Android rather than relying on an app, as Google Cardboard does. Together, these two things will reportedly reduce latency, lowering the likelihood of users becoming dizzy or nauseous due to lag between the headset and the user’s movements.
The primary selling point of Google’s new VR headset will be its wide range of compatibility. Samsung has only opened the Gear VR up to a small amount of users by offering compatibility only with a select few of its smartphones. Google will extend compatibility to a range of Android devices from all different manufacturers.
Google hasn’t commented directly on this report, but the company has given some indicators that it’s working on new VR technology. Google recently did some restructuring and created a new virtual reality department led up by Clay Bavor. This new department encompasses Google Cardboard and related technology. In addition to creating a VR department, Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently stated that Google Cardboard was “just the first step”. Pichai also had this to say, “Beyond these early efforts, you’ll see a lot more from us and our partners in 2016.”
2016 looks to be a big year for VR. Stay tuned and we’ll keep you informed on Google’s moves for virtual reality.