Google Just Became the Champion of Standalone VR

"There’s no cables, no phone, and certainly no big PC"

Clay Bavor on stage at I/O 2017 Credit: Google

During its I/O conference today Google made a major change to the virtual reality landscape and announced it was working on standalone virtual reality. 

“I’m excited to announce that an entirely new kind of VR device is coming to Daydream. What we call standalone VR headsets,” says Clay Bavor, VP of VR at Google. “The idea is you have everything you need for VR built right into the headset itself. There’s no cables, no phone, and certainly no big PC and the whole device is designed just for VR.”

Bavor adds this is cool for two reasons, it makes the VR device easy to use, “one step and two seconds” and because the device is purely focused on VR it gives better presence. “Nothing heightens the sense of presence like precise tracking, how the headset tracks your movements, and we’ve dramatically improved tracking with a technology that we call world sense.”  

World Sense allows for positional tracking, so your view in the virtual world matches your movement in the real world. Google is working with partners like Qualcomm, HTC (the company that brought you the Vive) and Lenovo (who Google have already joined forces with on Tango) and headset will be ready later this year. 

"We have been working closely with developers and consumers to define the best VR experiences over the past few years, and we are perfectly positioned to deliver the most premium standalone headset and user experience," says HTC in a statement. "Vive’s standalone VR headset will provide a deeper and more immersive portable VR experience than ever before."

The Google focus on VR is no surprise, it just announced it has acquired the Job Simulator studio Owlchemy. 

You can watch the entire I/O keynote below. Grab some popcorn though, it's a two hour show.