Android Could Soon Be The Biggest VR Platform In The World

Android Could Soon Be the Biggest VR Platform In the World

During Alphabet's earnings call last week, Google CEO Sundar Pichai spent several minutes talking about virtual reality, saying that Google Cardboard, the company's low-cost approach to VR, was "only the first step" towards much broader goals in the space. Now, a report from the Financial Times claims that Google's next step is closer than we thought. Google will reportedly release new VR hardware later this year. The next-generation VR headset will include "better sensors, lenses, and a more solid plastic casing" according to the FT report. Google will also likely make enhancements to Android to support more virtual reality content.

The headset will likely be similar to Samsung's Gear VR in build quality and sturdiness, but unlike Gear VR, Google's headset will be usable with any Android phone. The results will likely vary depending on the phone you use, but overall, it should be a big upgrade from the low-cost, fold-out Cardboard headsets.

In what would be an important step, Google will also reportedly embed the VR viewing software directly into Android, rather than requiring people to download the Google Cardboard app. This will likely help with lagging issues that plague the Cardboard app, which is the reason many users get nauseated and give up after a few minutes. Although this will be an upgrade from Cardboard, it will still be a relatively lightweight VR experience compared to Oculus, Vive and PlayStation VR headsets that use positional tracking and external hardware for more immersive experiences.

So when will we finally see all this stuff? Google's annual developer conference, Google I/O, takes place in May, and experts believe that this is where the Android updates will be teased. That means the next Nexus smartphone(s), usually released in spring, may be built for the best possible VR experience on Android. Translation: high-resolution VR and lower latency are coming. That could mean that Google release a 4K display in its upcoming phones.

Google's also been rumoured to be working with chipmakers to co-develop processors for Android. This could help create silicon that can handle the taxing resources VR puts on any smartphone and make Android an all-around smoother experience, much like Apple's A-series processors do for iPhones.

The details on exactly how Google is going to " new software directly into its Android smartphone operating system" are anyone's guess, but such a plan would theoretically rocket Android as potentially the most pervasive VR platform in the world, all powered by the computer already in your pocket.

[Financial Times]



    What would be good is if they could give me one good legit reason to shove one of these VR headsets on my head. I can't think of one. As far as I'm concerned, Gaming is better on console and a TV; movies are better on a large screen TV.

    What's the big deal about being the biggest when they should be wanting to be the best? Making it available on every android device seems a little counter intuitive as people who experience VR on their piece of shit, petrol station bought phone are not going to be impressed by it at all.

      I'm quite sure some minimum requirements on hardware will be included in a footnote somewhere on the box.

    Samsung’s Gear VR - sucks
    Locked to using only samsung VR management software and apps = unable to use google play VR apps.

      Get 'Package Disabler Pro' from the App Store (or have a look on the web if you know what you're up to ) and install it on your phone. From here you can disable the Gear VR Service which forces the Oculus software to launch at boot and then you can run Cardboard Apps.
      You can also configure Side Loading with the SideLoadVR app which lets you load up all sorts of things like QuakeVR.

      Ask the internet and they provide, nearly every time

      I have not tried this, but if someone wants to give me a GearVR I'll give it a crack and review for you :)

        Ah! this would have been handy at the time. Though for this case Samsung had sent us a few sets for one of our departments, at the time we were not allowed to "tinker" with anything since it was for a presentation of some sort.

        The Department in question had the devices under the assumption that they would work with google play vr apps out of the box.

        Last edited 09/02/16 4:38 pm

          how do you get to play with this sort of stuff???? :D

            Become the unfortunate tech guy who has to support/fix all the fun stuff haha

              I am willing to be that guy :) (already deal with those sort of people in my current role :p just less of the fun stuff )

    Here's a question. How many people own a 3D capable TV? How many people actually watch their 3D TV in 3D?

      I tried it once after owning the TV for a year and a half. It took me ten minutes to be able to focus on it properly and then my brain felt the same way I imagine rice bubbles do when you poor milk on them.

      It wasn't great.

      I have one. Have watched many movies in 3d and play games. The selection is a bit low though. Also I have and oculus on pre order and plan to use the shit out of it. Cardboard is great. It's portable and easy to show people what vr is.

      So there.

        That's the thing. Not many people actually use it, and the ones that do, there's not much for. So it feels as if it will be difficult for VR as well

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