Google has been in the virtual reality game since 2014 with its Cardboard viewer, but according to a new report, Google will be stepping up its VR game in a big way in 2016.
A report from the Financial Times claims that Google will release a new virtual reality headset this year that’s similar to Samsung’s Gear VR (shown above). Cardboard is exactly what it’s name suggests — made of cardboard — and it’s meant to be a barebones viewer that just about anyone can use to experience VR. This new Google VR headset is expecting to offer a solid plastic housing as well as better lenses and sensors, similar to Samsung’s Gear VR. However, while Gear VR is compatible with a handful of Samsung phones, Google’s new VR headset will reportedly work with “a much broader range of Android devices.”
To take advantage of this new VR headset, Google is said to be added better VR support to its Android software. Google Cardboard uses an app to for its VR experience.
With Samsung Gear VR, Facebook’s Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and more, there’s a big focus on virtual reality today as several companies race to get a quality VR product out and capture a slice of the market while it’s still young. Google could leverage its large Android user base to try and get a piece of the VR market by building support for VR directly into Android and offering its own headset as a sort of reference device. We could then see more manufacturers take advantage of Android’s built-in VR support with their own headsets, which could then attract VR developers to Android and make Android as big a part of VR as it is to the smartphone market now.
Would you buy a Gear VR-like headset made by Google?