Google’s annual I/O developer conference kicks off next week and we can expect VR to be a big focus for the company.
Up until now, Google’s VR efforts have mostly centered around Google Cardboard and YouTube’s 360° video support, including 360° live-streaming. With Google I/O less than a week away, the rumors are starting to come in, with one suggesting that Google will unveil a standalone headset.
Even though this has been reported on by the Financial Times back in February, we might actually get our first look at the device and platform next week.
We are cautious about the rumor, but according to Peter Rojas, founder of Gizmodo and Engadget, Google will be announcing a self-contained VR headset that won’t need a smartphone to power it like the Gear VR or a powerful gaming PC. Rojas also adds that the “Android VR” device will provide a better experience than the Gear VR but not quite as advanced as the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive.
Android VR will definitely be announced next week, and from what I’ve heard will be less powerful than the Vive or Rift.
— Peter Rojas (@peterrojas) May 11, 2016
Adding to the Google I/O VR rumors, Android Police spotted within the Google Play Developer Console a new icon and way of distributing apps on “Android VR.” This does confirm that “Android VR” as an internal platform name, but again tread carefully on the headset rumors.
It would make more sense for the VR platform to have it’s own name like Android VR, but whether a headset would take the same name or instead something as simple as Google VR is a different question.
At last year’s Google I/O, the first day of the conference included announcements around Google Cardboard and the Cardboard SDK. Google also announced their well received Expeditions program, kind of like a VR magic school bus program for children in class. The VR keynote concluded with the introduction to Jump VR, Google’s VR camera eco-system and GoPro riddled camera.