Google announces standalone Daydream VR headsets

Google made a decision to partner with HTC and Lenovo to create a new Vive standalone VR headset that will be the first to use Google's Daydream platform.

Google is partnering with HTC, the company behind the Vive, and Lenovo to build the headsets. New VR headsets will be based on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 VR platform, running on light version of Android 7 Nougat which only runs Daydream. Key to the design is what Google calls "World Sense", which means the headsets can monitor the environment and accurately track your position without the need for extra sensors.

Along with the web browsing functions, the Chrome integration will give you a shot at watching YouTube videos in all-encompassing VR, providing one of the most immersive platforms to watch amusing cat videos we've seen to date.

While some might have been expecting or hoping for a standalone Daydream headset to be priced somewhere in the middle of the already available Daydream View and more expensive PC-based virtual reality offerings, it seems that won't be the case. In addition to the support from hardware manufacturers, Google has developed a new system called WorldSense to provide positional tracking for the units.

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Providing one of the most immersive platforms to watch videos, the Chrome integration will also give you a shot at watching YouTube videos in all-encompassing VR.

The latest Daydream 2.0 Euphrates update includes support for Google Cast. And there are more coming-including the Galaxy S8 and S8+, which will be Daydream-ready with a software update this summer, and LG's next flagship phone, which will launch later this year. So, for example, if you are playing a game in virtual reality, the other person in the room will be able to see what you're seeing. It's a simple 2D UI inside VR that allows you to look through your notifications and access some of the controls you can usually find on your notification shade. "VR can transport you".

This week, Variety reported that the world could potentially finally get a glimpse of this standalone headset in action at Google's I/O developer conference. It's meant to be an indoor alternative to Global Positioning System and is now being trialled in select Lowe's stores and museums.

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