VR is becoming an increasingly immersive and realistic experience. As a result, it seems only natural that VR headsets would follow the trend and become less invasive. Lighter, wireless, and higher graphics quality are reasonable expectations for consumers to have of VR gear. And now, Google has announced their VR headset in cooperation with Lenovo and HTC.
Traditional VR headsets are heavy, a little clunky, and connected via a series of wires to a computer. This new headset made by Google, HTC, and Lenovo, however, is expected to be lighter, cordless, and standalone. That’s right, no expensive phone, PC, or gaming console needed. Google wanted their VR customers to be able to use their product virtually anywhere they wanted to do so.
What makes this VR headset unique?
The standalone VR headset will be the first to use Google’s Daydream platform. In the brief video provided by Futurism.com, a young girl was displayed using the headset in her backyard, training for dodgeball.
Perhaps the unique factor about the headset is its status as a standalone VR headset. Without requiring other costly parts, Google is lowering the cost of entry for newcomers to the VR scene.
How much will it cost?
According to Backchannel, Google has worked with Qualcomm to produce a reference version of the headset and the price will be set in the middle-hundreds range, cheaper than buying just a PC capable of running VR products. Pricing the headset in the middle-hundreds range not only makes the technology available to the general public but will also likely create a strong demand for the product in the short-medium term.
While there are $2,000 high-end VR headsets that can render nearly any image or video users could want, they are also much too expensive for most consumers.
Why do I care?
This headset was initially announced at Google’s I/O developer conference and is paving the way for cheaper, lighter, and more versatile VR and AR headsets to enter the mainstream. Google has removed two limitations with one concept. Both the bundle of wires and dependence on another potentially cumbersome device for graphics processing.
Though Google and Facebook alike have long-term plans to bring VR and AR technology to the mainstream, this headset is a leap forward beyond what VR currently is. Backchannel also reports that this headset uses special optimization for graphics to produce images in high quality at a full order of magnitude less items to process.
As VR and AR continue to mature, it is important to understand that they are still likely several years from reaching maturity. Despite advances in computing and sensory stimulation technologies. Tech giants are, however, putting enormous amounts of money and resources into the technologies, so their time to maturity shrinks by the day.
A standalone VR headset truly disrupts an already disruptive industry, because the level of immersion and user experience can only increase without the need for wires and supplementary devices. One of the most cumbersome aspects of a phone or PC-reliant VR headset is the unequal distribution of weight. Another highly restrictive aspect is the transition from a phone to a VR unit or connecting and setting up all of the PC-related peripherals.