1-7 February 2016

Google Cardboard
Google Cardboard

Tech giants Apple and Google are both stepping up their efforts to design for virtual reality offerings, according to reports.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has acquired New York-based image-recognition specialist Flyby Media.

Apple is also reported to have built a 100-strong team of employees to work on VR and augmented reality, having been investigating the technologies for more than a decade.

“It’s not niche, it’s really cool”

In his recent quarterly earnings conference call, Apple chief executive Tim Cook was asked about VR and said: “I don’t think it’s a niche. It’s really cool and has some interesting applications.”

Meanwhile Google has reportedly moved around ten employees to a dedicated design team for VR.

According to Re/Code, the tech giant is building a team that includes Joshua To, a design lead for the apps unit. Meanwhile Clay Bavor, who previously led the product management and design teams for Google’s apps, has been appointed as VP of virtual reality for the company.

Tech giants backing VR

Google previous forays into VR include the Google Cardboard viewer and Project Tango, a technology that aims to allow a mobile device to navigate the physical world.

These drives into VR come as Facebook-owned Oculus Rift prepares to launch its VR headset to the consumer market. The launch is expected next month.

Samsung has already launched its Gear VR headset to consumers, while Microsoft has released a development edition of its HoloLens headset.

Discover more:

• How can designers unlock the potential of Oculus Rift?