Google Ink Deals With Samsung, LG, Lenovo + HTC To Boost VR Bid

Isaac Cain
May 19, 2017

Google announced that it is working with HTC and Lenovo to launch standalone Daydream virtual reality (VR) headsets later this year. In related news, Google is also coming up with the second iteration of the Tango-enabled phone, the Asus Zenfone AR.

"Daydream will soon also support a new category of VR devices, which we call standalone VR headsets", Google said.

As a result, a software update will be bringing support for Daydream to the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus later in the year.

The move marks a major evolution of Daydream, which launched as a platform for compatible smartphones in October alongside a motion-sensitive controller and phone-cradle headset.

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With the new Daydream 2.0 "Euphrates release", owners of the Google Daydream View VR headset will be able to share what they're viewing with other people in the room using Google's "Cast" technology. Google's Assistant, a voice-powered digital assistant like Siri, will be available as an app, and usable on iPhones in the USA first and then in Europe, Google told attendees at its developer conference Google I/O, which started yesterday. Chrome on Daydream will not only allow users to browse regular websites, but also access Web-based virtual and augmented reality experiences. They'll feature WorldSense for positional tracking right out of the box without any external equipment.

Google is working with Qualcomm on the reference design for the standalone VR platform, which will and HTC, maker of the PC-connected Vive headset, and Lenovo will be making the consumer product. Minimization seems especially counterintuitive when competitor Facebook has been pretty loud about its own VR efforts, between social VR demonstrations and the high-end Oculus headset.

Today at Google I/O 2017, Google and HTC announced a new Daydream VR compatible Vive headset. According to a recent Nielsen study, very few USA consumers say they're likely to buy one of the big VR headsets on the market today.

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