Google partners with HTC, Lenovo for new standalone VR headset platform

Today, at Google’s I/O developer conference, the company teased that it will be working on Daydream all-in-one virtual reality headsets with partners like HTC, maker of the Vive VR headset, as well as Lenovo. These headsets will be coming in “late 2017.”

The big announcement is that these headset will have positional tracking which means that the hardware can tell the headset’s position in space relative to the environment around it. Google is working with Qualcomm to solve this. The tracking system, called WorldSense, has 6 degrees-of-freedom so users can move about freely instead of more limited platforms like Cardboard and Daydream which only allow users to look around from a fixed point.

Bavor says that Google won’t be building these headsets themselves, instead relying on hardware partners. Rumors of an all-in-one headset from Google that requires neither a phone or PC to operate have been floating around for the last year or so.

Google now joins the ranks of Intel, Qualcomm and others who have shown off demos of all-in-one untethered reference designs headsets. Facebook’s Oculus showed off a feature prototype of “Santa Cruz,’ its standalone headset, at its developer conference last year.

Many have wondered who would be the Android of standalone VR headset operating systems, it seems like it very well might be something also built by Google.