Google Developing Standalone Virtual Reality Headset: Report

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Google Developing Standalone Virtual Reality Headset: Report
Google is developing a virtual reality headset that works without a smartphone or computer, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The company has in the recent past firmed up its efforts in the space, with the creation of a new division dedicated to virtual reality.

Alphabet Inc's Google currently sells a virtual reality device made of cardboard into which users slide in their mobile phones. The standalone headset would contain all the hardware required to operate it, not requiring to be connected to a console, PC, or a smartphone.

The new plastic VR headset will include a screen, high-powered processors, and outward-facing cameras, the Journal reported, citing one person. The standalone VR headset will also use chips from Movidius that will use the headset's cameras to help track the motion of the user's head. To recall, the company had partnered with Movidius to bring image recognition to smartphones and other Android devices.

Movidius told WSJ that it works with many companies on virtual reality and augmented reality, but declined to elaborate.

The new Google standalone VR headset is supposed to take the "middle ground", offering a better experience that smartphone-based headsets like Google Cardboard and the Gear VR, but not as sophisticated as the Oculus Rift of HTC Vive, which both require high-end PCs to run.

The company may release the headset as soon as this year, but report also cautions that Google may not yet be ready to deliver in 2016. It is currently expected to launch a new version of Cardboard at its I/O 2016 developer event in May, as well as native VR support in Android.

Since the launch in 2014, Google has shipped five million Google Cardboards.

The company declined to comment on the Journal report.

Written with inputs from Reuters

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