Google is allegedly developing a virtual reality headset to rival Samsung’s Gear VR and Facebook’s Oculus Rift. Financial Times has the news.
“Google is developing a new virtual-reality headset for smartphones, and adding extra support for the technology to its Android operating system, as it challenges Facebook’s Oculus for an early lead in Silicon Valley’s latest platform war.”
Google’s new virtual reality headset is a follow-up to Google Cardboard, a cheap virtual reality solution that many thought turned people off of VR rather than onto it. Although the device certainly gave people a glimpse into VR, it also made them dizzy, uncomfortable, and wanting more. Pocket Gamer agrees with the viewpoint that the Cardboard virtual reality device is more of a disability than an asset.
“Giving people an inroad to VR is great but at the same time Google Cardboard is pretty much the weakest commercial VR experience anyone can have.”
The article adds that if Google Cardboard becomes more popular, it could hurt the prospects of virtual reality in the future. Like others, the article stresses that Google shouldn’t be compared to Samsung’s Gear VR or Facebook’s Oculus Rift.
The first commercial version of Samsung’s Gear VR has received mostly positive reviews, although some note that it proves that virtual reality still has a long way to go. Wearable gave Samsung’s virtual reality headset four stars.
“It’s immersive, sure, and that’s the buzzword but you won’t just be immersed by the images and audio, you’ll feel like you’re really there. If you find yourself at the edge of a rock in ustwo’s Gear VR game Land’s End, you’ll get a bit of vertigo, it’s that powerful. In short, it’s magic.”
Like others, Wearable notes that Samsung’s set represents virtual reality a lot more than Google’s Cardboard. The review, also like others, notes that the 1440 x 2560 AMOLED screen may look good on a smartphone, but a virtual reality headset really screams for a 4K screen.
Speaking of the Gear VR, a new social app that allows people to meet in a real time virtual reality world has just been released for the device. Engadget has the news.
“Samsung Gear VR users can start making friends in a virtual reality world now that AltspaceVR has released its app for the headset to the public. In fact, they can mix and mingle not only with other Gear VR users, but also with people who use the HTC Vive and, soon, the Oculus Rift. You can think of AltspaceVR as something like Second Life for virtual reality.”
Engadget notes that a beta version of the app has been available for a couple months. As The Inquisitr wrote last December, another virtual reality meeting app, Oculus Social, has received amazing reviews from its users, despite the minor limitations. With this app, you could meet your relatives from Australia on the moon while playing recent family videos.
Google’s decision to build a headset like the Gear VR is a smart move. Not only will they gain more sales, but they will now contribute positively to the virtual reality industry rather than having a half-baked device that turns people off of VR. Google’s device joins the upcoming Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive, and others in hopefully making 2016 the year that virtual reality finally takes off.
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]