Following the lead of Microsoft in terms of third-party devices, Google announced at its I/O 2017 event on Wednesday that it is working with partners including HTC Vive and Lenovo to develop standalone VR headsets that will be released in the “coming months” and feature search giant’s ‘WorldSense’ tracking tech, based the company’s Tango platform.
Google says that the company has worked closely with Qualcomm to develop a standalone headset reference design, which can be used by partners as a blueprint to build their own headsets. Much like the headsets that are being developed by Microsoft in collaboration with Acer and Lenovo, the standalone VR headsets from Google also offer inside-out tracking.
As the term itself suggests, the standalone headsets do not require a smartphone or even a PC – with their own displays, processing power, storage, and sensors. Google claims that the hardware is fully optimised for VR. “WorldSense enables positional tracking, meaning the headset tracks your precise movements in space – and it does this all without any external sensors to install,” the company said in its official blog.
The first ones of these standalone VR headsets from HTC Vive and Lenovo are expected to come later this year, as per the report. Interestingly, the company has come up with Seurat rendering system that is able to produce graphics as good as relatively higher-priced VR headsets, the company claims, as per a report by Backchannel. In terms of price, the report suggests that the new standalone VR headsets are expected to fall in the price range of the higher-end VR headsets sold by Oculus and HTC, but will not require the high-end PCs that the other headsets require.
We discussed everything that was announced at Google I/O 2017 on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast. You can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, or just hit the play button below to listen to this episode.