Google is working with partners on a standalone VR headset that will support inside-out tracking. The headsets track virtual space with something Google calls “WorldSense,” powered by technology from its Tango augmented reality system. Google is creating a reference design with help from Qualcomm, and it’s also working with HTC and Lenovo for standalone headsets.
There’s no release date or price announced on stage, and as with Daydream last year, we’re only seeing an outline of the headset — which appears alongside a Daydream-like controller. A closer look at the project, published at Backchannel, says that Google has developed a prototype and that Lenovo and HTC will release commercial versions “in the coming months.” It should fall in “the mid-hundreds range,” apparently comparable to the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive’s $600 to $700 range. Bavor has also published an essay with details on Medium.
The prototype is described as clunky, but producing a better experience than the Gear VR or Daydream. A rendering system called Seurat allows it to produce high performance with low power, dramatically optimizing 3D graphics.
This prototype puts Google in the company of Oculus and Intel, both of whom have showed off early standalone headsets with self-contained tracking systems. It’s also similar to Microsoft’s Mixed Reality Headset development kits with inside-out tracking. This long-rumored headset follows on the heels of Google’s phone-based Daydream platform, which is also coming to more phones later this year.