Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Grace Becker

Google's standalone VR headsets don't even need smartphones

But Google's new devices won't require any of that. As in, headsets that work independently, without having to be tied to a smartphone or PC.

In the new version of Daydream, called Euphrates, you can broadcast what you see in virtual reality to a regular TV over a Chromecast. Soon enough you'll be able to use the anticipated ASUS ZenPhone AR phone and, of course, the Galaxy S8 handsets.

Google has revealed more details about Lens, an app that uses state-of-the art machine learning and artificial intelligence to make sense of what it "sees", at its annual Google I/O developer conference in California. "Both technologies enable us to experience computing more like we experience the real world - they make computing work more like we do".

"We're already at a point where millions of people are beginning to enjoy some of what these new developments can offer, but it's early days", he said, using a phrase popular with Google executives trying to rein in expectations. They'll feature WorldSense for positional tracking right out of the box without any external equipment.

Google has collaborated with Qualcomm to develop and build on the design for the standalone headset.

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"Vive's standalone VR headset will provide a deeper and more immersive portable VR experience than ever before", HTC Vive said after the announcement.

This time past year, Google introduced Daydream, a VR platform for Android devices that was built right into Android Nougat and supported by Google's own viewer hardware, the Daydream View. "The hardware is fully optimised for VR, and features a new headset tracking technology called WorldSense".

Google is partnering with HTC, the company behind the Vive, and Lenovo to build the headsets.

The company also will expand its Daydream headset, which was announced previous year alongside the Pixel smartphone. Thus, this Google VR headset sounds promising for overcoming that significant barrier to entry.

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