Google Cardboard

Update, May 13: “Android VR” is also appearing in the Google Play Developer Console, although it currently has a generic icon. The unannounced platform appears alongside Android TV, Android Auto and Android Wear. At this point it looks like Android VR is a definite lock for an I/O unveiling next week…

Original post, May 11: Back in February, we heard a rumor that Google was working on a standalone VR headset that wouldn’t require a smartphone or computer. Their goal, evidently, is to out-perform the Samsung Gear VR with this portable piece of tech, and the Wall Street Journal reported that it would even have outward facing cameras for AR use. Now, if Peter Rojas is to be believed, we’re about to see the fruits of this project showcased at Google I/O next week.

There is, of course, still no word on pricing or specs. Affordability may be a big issue with this project, which is conceptually an expansion of Google Cardboard sans smartphone. It seems like Google is attempting to snag the currently-nonexistent midrange VR headset market. Right now users really only have two options when it comes to virtual reality: they can fork over the big bucks for something like the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, or they can get an inexpensive headset for use with their smartphones. There really isn’t much middle ground.

Rest assured that we’ll have boots on the ground at the Google I/O conference, so if this unveiling turns out to be true, we’ll be giving you the coverage as soon as it happens. What are your theories regarding Android VR? Will it be exploiting a viable niche in the market, or is the virtual reality arena not quite ready for a mid-tier player yet? Let us know what price you’d pay for a device like this in the comments below!

Next: Google I/O 2016: Our predictions for Google’s big event!

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