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Google Announces Standalone VR Headsets From HTC and Lenovo

Variety logo Variety 5/17/2017 Janko Roettgers
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Google has teamed up with hardware makers to build next-generation virtual reality headsets that won’t require your PC or phone: Google VR head Clay Bavor announced the new headsets during the keynote for the company’s Google I/O developer conference in Mountain View, Calif. Wednesday.

Bavor said that Google is once again using a platform approach to build these standalone devices. The company is cooperating with chipset vendor Qualcomm to build technology optimized for mobile VR, and has teamed up with HTC and Lenovo to bring standalone headsets to market later this year.

The partnership with HTC is significant in part because HTC has been building its own high-end HTC Vive VR headset. HTC launched a preview page for the new device Wednesday, and promised updates on it in the near future.

Variety first broke the news of Google unveiling its standalone virtual reality headset at Google I/O earlier this week.

These standalone headsets will use inside-out positional tracking to allow users to move through virtual spaces that correspond with the real world, something that Google calls WorldSense. They’re being marketed as part of Google’s Daydream mobile VR platform, but many technical details — as well as any retail pricing — have yet to be announced.

In addition, Bavor also announced additional hardware support for Daydream, the company’s existing mobile VR platform. LG’s next flagship phones will support Daydream, and Samsung is also bringing Daydream support to its recently-introduced Galaxy S8 an Galaxy S8+ handsets.

The latter is especially remarkable because Samsung’s existing relationship with Oculus on Samsung’s Gear VR headset. Altogether, Daydream will be available on 11 devices by the end of the year.

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