The next evolution of VR tech will look to free the headsets from separate hardware.
Google has announced that it has partnered to develop two virtual reality headsets that will work as standalone devices. That means they will not have to be plugged into a powerful gaming PC, console or smartphone. Nor will they require that users mount or stand sensors in their rooms. Instead, the headsets will incorporate tech that allows them to trace their position as they move in 3D space.
Furthermore, Google has partnered not only with Lenovo but also with HTC – makers of the Steam-friendly HTC Vive – to produce the hardware. It has also been confirmed that Samsung's Galaxy S8 will soon be updated to support the Google Daydream format. Until now Galaxy owners who wanted to dabble in VR were restricted to the Oculus-developed Gear VR.
An update to provide both the S8 and S8 Plus with Daydream compatibility is due in the summer.
Daydream will soon also support a new category of VR devices, which we call standalone VR headsets,” Google said. These devices build on what's already great about smartphone VR, and they make the whole experience even easier and more comfortable.
Standalone headsets don't require a phone or PC. Instead, getting into VR is as simple as putting the thing on. The hardware is fully optimized for VR, and features a new headset tracking technology called WorldSense. WorldSense enables positional tracking, meaning the headset tracks your precise movements in space – and it does this all without any external sensors to install.
We worked closely with Qualcomm to create a standalone headset reference design, which partners can use as a blueprint to build from. HTC VIVE, a leader in the VR space, and Lenovo, a leader in mobile and computing, are both working on devices, with the first ones coming later this year.”
Vive added: We have been working closely with developers and consumers to define the best VR experiences over the past few years, and are perfectly positioned to deliver the most premium standalone headset and user experience.
More information on Vive's standalone VR headset will be made available soon, but rest assured it will be simple, easy-to-use and with no cables to connect. Just pick it up, put it on and be fully immersed in your new reality.”