Google “building standalone VR headset”

Google is reportedly working on a VR headset that could operate without being tethered to a smartphone or PC.

Google's open-source VR headset Google Cardboard
Google’s open-source VR headset Google Cardboard

Google is reported to be building a virtual reality headset that doesn’t need a smartphone or PC to power it.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is building a headset that wouldn’t need to be powered by another device and could operate on its own.

The report follows news that Google has moved around ten employees to a dedicated design team for VR.

Google building VR team

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.

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.

Fellow tech giant Apple is also reported to be stepping up its efforts in virtual reality.

Apple buys VR business

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

Apple is also rumoured 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 a 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.”

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.

Discover more:

Apple and Google join virtual reality design drive

How can designers unlock the potential of Oculus Rift?

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

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