Today at Google I/O, the tech giant announced a new expansion of the Daydream mobile VR platform. Moving past smartphone-based VR, Google will be partnering with hardware makers to launch standalone VR headsets that cut the cord and have no reliance on PC, console or smartphone. One of the first devices will be an HTC-made, Vive-branded headset coming later this year.
While Google hasn't spilled too many beans about the upcoming initiative, VP of Virtual Reality Clay Bavor mentioned that the standalone Daydream products will employ inside-out positional tracking (which the company is branding as Worldsense) that doesn't require any external sensors. (Positional tracking lets you physically move through space, and have that locomotion mirrored in the virtual world.)
Based on standalone form factor and inside-out tracking alone, this platform is already well on its way to ticking the boxes in our ideal VR product wishlist.
In addition to an HTC Vive standalone Daydream headset, Google mentioned it will also partner with Lenovo on one of the early products. HTC says the Vive one is coming later this year.
Google didn't mention how motion controls will work with the headsets, but the rough sketches the company showed in its presentation (above) displayed a lone controller, which looks just like the one that ships with Daydream View. That's a start, but we'd rather see companies take more time and launch standalone VR with fully-featured, dual motion controllers, a la Oculus Touch. (Note that Facebook is cooking up something along those lines.)
It's still possible that we're reading too much into this rough sketch, though, and that Daydream's standalone headsets will indeed support dual controls.
There's no exact release date or pricing info on the upcoming headsets as of yet.