At I/O 2017 the Google announced plans to release standalone Daydream virtual reality headsets that don’t require a mobile phone or PC to operate. The headsets will be made with various manufacturing partners, beginning with HTC and Lenovo.
The company also confirmed earlier rumours indicating that these headsets will be powered by Qualcomm’s virtual reality-focused Snapdragon 835 processor.
Google says that overarching goal of its new standalone Daydream initiative is to enable manufacturers to build what the company calls a “new category of virtual reality.” Google’s initial Daydream initiative involved a unified virtual reality platform of low-cost headsets that are powered by certified smartphones. These new headsets do not need to be connected to a smartphone or a PC and are self-contained, according to Google.
“Our companies share the same vision: to make it possible for everyone to enjoy rich and immersive VR experiences on a smartphone device or a dedicated VR head-mounted display while being fully mobile, rather than being restricted by cables or limited to predefined rooms setup for outside-in tracking,” said Keith Kressin, senior vice president of product management at Qualcomm, in a statement sent to MobileSyrup.
— Google (@Google) May 17, 2017
We only have a few sketches of HTC’s and Lenovo’s standalone Daydream headset, but so far their designs look very similar to other virtual reality headsets currently on the market. At the outset, however, it looks like HTC’s headset uses an overhead strap, while Lenovo’s rests against the wearer’s forehead in a way that’s comparable to the PlayStation VR.
HTC’s high-end Vive VR headset is widely regarded as the top device on the market largely because of its impressive full 360-degree room-scale capabilities. Google’s new WorldSense motion tracking technology allows the wearer to “move naturally in VR” without additional cameras or cables. Sensors built into the headset allow the wearer to lean, dodge and duck.
While Google hasn’t confirmed anything yet, it looks like both headsets will be compatible with Google’s existing Daydream controller.
“These headsets have everything needed for VR, built right into the headset itself and are as easy to use as picking them up. They’ll feature WorldSense for positional tracking right out of the box without any external equipment. We’re thrilled that headsets will begin to hit shelves later this year,” said Clay Bavor vice president of virtual reality at Google, in a statement.
It’s currently unclear how much these new standalone Daydream headsets will cost or when they will be released in Canada.