Google Unveils Standalone VR Headset to Rival Oculus Rift

Just seven months after the launch of its Daydream View, Google has introduced the latest evolution of its virtual reality (VR) headset.

Unlike Daydream View, where the user needs to be attached to a smartphone or computer, this new device can operate without a cable connection.

The standalone headset was developed in collaboration with Qualcomm, which designed the product, wrote Clay Bavor, vice president for Virtual and Augmented Reality. The search engine giant also partnered with HTC and Lenovo to work on the VR space and mobile and computing, respectively.

Bavor mentioned that they will be using WorldSense technology for positional tracking. “The headset tracks your precise movements in space – and it does this all without any external sensors to install,” he explained.

“Standalone headsets don't require a phone or PC. Instead, getting into VR is as simple as putting the thing on,” Bavor added.

The release of this standalone device doesn’t mean that Google will abandon Daydream View, however. In fact, new smartphones such as the Galaxy S8 and S8+, along with LG’s new flagship devices, will come equipped with Daydream-support software.

Google is not aiming to reinvent the wheel with its new VR headset. By building on the Daydream platform, the company will ensure that there are sufficient app support and game titles by the time it gets launched later this year.

There’s no price point yet for this VR device, but it’s safe to say it will cost more than the $79 Daydream VR and less than the Oculus Rift, which requires a powerful PC and commands a market price of $500.

Google also announced several new updates during this year’s I/O Conference, such as the Google Lens, which will feature image recognition technology. Using the app and focusing the camera on a flower, for example, will allow the user to recognize its species. Travelers to a foreign country can also translate the menus or signs with Google Lens.

Another significant update is the new smart assistant for Android devices, which is seen as a rival to Apple’s Siri. Google is also looking to bring spatial tools to another level with its Visual Positioning Service (VPS). While Google Maps can bring people to a store, VPS will lead them right to the particular item they are looking to buy.

The VPS is powered by Tango, the same core technology that is used to gauge space and track motion in Google’s Daydream VR and augmented reality devices.