Google’s Cardboard is about to go plastic.
Google is creating a new, revamped virtual reality headset as the company redoubles its efforts in the nascent but increasingly competitive virtual reality market, according to a new report in the Financial Times.
The new VR headset is a successor to the current Cardboard VR headset that Google launched in 2014 and which is essentially a cardboard box that houses a user’s smartphone to become a makeshift virtual reality viewer.
But Google’s new headset is made out of plastic and will include built-in motion sensors and better lenses to provide a more advanced and immersive experience, according to the report, which cites anonymous sources familiar with the plans.
The device is slated to be released later this year, underscoring the race among big tech companies to gain a foothold in what could become the next big computing platform. Facebook is due to start selling its long-awaited Oculus Rift VR headset in the coming months and there’s a growing amount of evidence that Apple is planning a big move into virtual reality.
Google will also upgrade its Android VR software, the FT said. Virtual reality features could be integrated directly into the Android smartphone operating system rather than in standalone VR app, which could make the experience more life-like and eliminate some of the motion-sickness issues that is sometimes associated with virtual reality.
The new Google headset sounds very similar to Samsung’s Gear VR headset, which uses the consumer’s existing smartphone for the display and most of the computing processing power. The FT suggests that Google may take a similar strategy to its Nexus product line, creating a flagship device in partnership with other hardware manufacturers.
Google may unveil the device at its annual IO developer conference in May, with the product launching in September, the FT said.
We’ve reached out to Google for comment and will update this story if we hear back.
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