At Google I/O today, the company made a announcement that it will be expanding its Daydream VR program from the existing phone holster to a new platform which will not require a PC or phone in order to use, a platform based on standalone headsets, complete with positional tracking. Qualcomm is working on a “reference design” for the generalized platform, while HTC and Lenovo will have the first consumer units ready for later in 2017.
On stage, Google VP for VR Clay Bavor said, “We asked, ‘how can we take the best parts of smartphone VR and create a kind of device with an even better experience.'”
Unlike the existing Daydream holster, which is just a felt-covered, head-mounted container for smartphones, the standalone Daydream headsets have “everything built right in: no cables, no phone, certainly no big PC,” said Bavor. This lets Google and hardware makers customize the displays, optics, and sensors to be perfect for virtual reality, he said.
Such technology is important for VR’s success. Standalone headsets that are independent of additional components and free of wires are the next evolution of VR hardware, as they’re more fit for a mass-market audience.
These standalone headsets will aim to utilize the convenience afforded by portable smartphone VR without the current constrictions holding back consumers like lack of physical space or incompatible software specs.