Declaring virtual reality to be “too important and too powerful a medium to be accessible to only a few” in an interview last month, Google’s Clay Bavor is ready to see the search giant broaden their front in the virtual reality market with the introduction of a new headset. Google already has a virtual reality headset, the Google Cardboard platform, which can literally be constructed out of cardboard. However, the company is now working on a new device with plans to embed VR support into the Android operating system.
Google Cardboard has proven to be quite popular with over 5 million units shipped for users who want to give VR a try without dropping a huge amount of money. To make it work though, Google has to rely on sensors built into smartphones and separate apps to help with chores like head tracking. The new device, besides being constructed of plastic, will come with its own built-in sensors. Google is also planning to embed the software that helps make VR work in the Android operating system itself, which should help make their solution compatible with a larger number of devices.
Part of Google’s work in this arena is to combat Samsung and Facebook, both of whom are producing their own VR headsets. However, those devices have limitations like the Gear VR only working with certain Samsung devices.
Google hopes to control costs and make the pool of potential devices and users much larger by producing a more open platform. Sources think Google may employee a strategy similar to their Nexus line of smartphones where Google produces a model that embodies the standard while making it possible for other manufacturers to produce their own devices.
There are some people who think Google may be ready to reveal their work in the VR area as soon as Google I/O this year followed by the release of an actual device later in the fall.
source: Financial Times