News  Android
VR Logo

Daydream believer

Googles cardboard project looked to be the prototype for its future VR platform, in the shape of a generic headset into which compatible Android VR devices are slotted, rather than an Oculus Rift style dedicated device. However, recently there was speculation Google had scrapped a project to create this stand-alone VR headset.

It was even rumored a separate operating system is being designed to power the device. It seems things have moved on in the same direction as was suggested at this years Google I/O, with Daydream and the Android VR spec powering Googles future VR projects.

Word is Google are incredibly busy internally with VR, so the move is also logical given the market dominance on smartphones which Android already enjoys.

Google X research lab

Nothing has been confirmed, despite rumours the dedicated headset project reportedly had 50 employees working on it but was "cancelled".

subway 700x250

At this years I/O, VR was a major feature. Google launched Daydream VR, and demonstrated it live with reference-design headset, controller and software tools for the platform. As usual, immediately after the launch developers we able to download the SDK. They made no bones about the requirement for some heavy duty hardware to handle the platform, but stressed that the early release of the software tools would make familiarization easier when the equivalent suitable hardware became available. That hardware availability is  likely to happen sooner rather than later given the investment Google has made in this and the interest already shown by consumers and mobile device manufacturers

"Too many projects"

Facebook has its Oculus rife stand-alone VR headset, HTC has Vive and Samsung, who already has the slot-in-smartphone Gear VR, is roumoured to be working on a dedicated unit termed "Odysssy". More are certain to be launched by the other big players with the interest shown in VR, and the huge future role it plays - they just can't afford to be left behind. Business insider is reporting the reason for this "cancellation", if indeed it is, could be as simple as Google not wanting to split into too many different directions, and instead focus on what is clearly a huge existing asset for them already with Android.

There may be something to this - WebVR has recently been integrated into Chrome, making the web itself an entirely new VR platform. 

Slot-in-smartphone headsets

Such a nascent industry as VR will bound to have casualties. no-one can predict the form factors which will eventually win out. It could be the gamble on slot-in-smartphone headsets proves wrong and consumers prefer dedicated units.

Google Dayream VR Diagram

There's also the not-so-insignificant problem of software standards and compatibility. As ususal, history is set to repeat itself with the inevitable format wars looming already. Google have even defined the controller, which is "guaranteed" to be available and provides developers with a known button and touchpad layout. How the big software players such as Microsoft, Google, Facebook etc, who have been at war in every other field up until now, will settle on a common VR standard remains to be seen...