Google Reportedly Working on Standalone VR/AR Headset

Is Google working on a different kind of augmented reality (AR) technology? The answer is yes if comments attributed to Google staffers are to be believed.

Two days ago, the Engadget tech blog quoted unnamed sources within Google as saying that the company is working on a device that would erase the boundaries between AR and VR (virtual reality). However, the day before the Engadget story was published, the ReCode Web site reported that Google was giving up on an ongoing high-end VR project that would have enabled the company to compete with established VR providers such as Oculus Rift.

Google apparently still plans to make a hybrid VR and AR headset but it's modifying its methods. Google employees working on the project have been informed that the Android-based Daydream VR platform, aimed at providing easier access to virtual reality content, is instead going to be used in service of the combined AR/VR technology, according to the Engadget report. Google?EU?s first attempt at making a VR hardware product was Cardboard, the $20 foldable VR viewer it debuted earlier this year.

"The headset currently in development will not require a computer or phone to power it. While it does have a screen, it will offer features more in line with augmented reality systems than existing VR headsets, which are presently focused on gaming," the sources told Engadget. "There is no release date in sight for the headset, but it remains an important part of Google's future plans."

Plans Change

The story that Google is looking for a way into the VR market has been around for a while. Earlier this year the Wall Street Journal reported that the company was planning a standalone headset device that could run independent of a computer or mobile device.

Google has reached agreements with a number of hardware...

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