As young as it is, the virtual reality (VR) industry is never one to stand still and whilst there has been some speculation recently about both Apple and Nintendo’s possible VR plans those already involved are already looking to the future. And according to a weekend story in the Financial Times for Google that might well involve a second head mounted display (HMD) and a potential competitor to the Samsung Gear VR.
Google, now owned by parent company Alphabet Inc. and already creator of mass-market budget HMD the Google Cardboard, is, according to the report looking to develop a more refined plastic-based partner or successor HMD which would allegedly feature higher quality lenses than the plastic ones currently used within the Google Cardboard. Whilst the Cardboard has shipped over five million units worldwide and continues to be successful, the development towards a second VR HMD from its creators would certainly tie-in with recent events at the company. In a February 1st earnings call with Alphabet senior management Google Inc CEO Sundar Pichai reflected that despite the aforementioned success “Cardboard is just a first step”. There have also been several new hires for a restructured division centred around VR, as well as a recent rumor regarding a possible VR-focused version of the Android operating system.
An improvement to the sensors was also specifically mentioned, and as pointed out by the team over at The Verge, this would also be an interesting combination with another Google technology currently still in development: Project Tango. Project Tango uses a combination of two different systems, depth sensing and three-dimensional motion tracking, which would give a device the ability to understand where it is within a space. The potential applications of a Project Tango-based smartphone or tablet in conjunction with a VR system would certainly be an intriguing addition to the VR line-up.
The report indicates a potential 2016 release of the HMD. VRFocus will continue to monitor news relating to the VR developments at Alphabet/Google and will bring you further news when it becomes available.