The report citing people familiar with Google's plans added that the company may also reveal a new Android VR technology this year, potentially making Android smartphones natively capable of streaming VR content without requiring a specialised app (like Cardboard). The new Cardboard is said to function in a similar manner to the previous generation budget VR headset, once again based around a smartphone that will be slotted in the device as its display.
The Financial Times report says that the updated Google Cardboard VR headset will be compatible with large number of Android devices, unlike Gear VR which only supports high-end Galaxy devices. The company is also rumoured to make some improvements in the quality of the mobile VR user experience which is said to embed new VR tech software directly into its Android OS. This built-in support is reportedly also meant to ensure that latency is reduced, what is thought to be one of the chief causes of the nausea reported by many VR users.
Google is expected to push its next-generation Cardboard VR headset in a manner similar to its Nexus range of devices, created to showcase the new OS and hardware capabilities that other OEM makers can take cues from and use as a reference design.
The report also claims that Google, like it did in 2014, will showcase the new Cardboard at its I/O 2016 event in May. Similar to Nexus device unveils, the actual launch is expected in September. Last month, Google CEO Sundar Pichai confirmed the dates and venue for the company's annual developer event. Google I/O 2016 will take place in Mountain View, California on May 18 through May 20.
The new report ties in with Google's ambitions in the virtual reality sphere, evinced by its recent creation of a new division for the nascent yet hot technology category, and the appointment of one of Google Cardboard's creators as the head of it. The company is looking to take on Facebook's levering of the technology it acquired by Oculus VR.
Google last month announced that it shipped 5 million units of the Google Cardboard headset since launch.