Tech

Google plan to launch a Gear VR competitor later this year

Google CardboardThe mobile VR (virtual reality) space is going to heat up very soon as Google reportedly starts prepping a GearVR competitor to be launched sometime this year. The Verge reports that the device will feature a slew of new sensors, a plastic casing and add support for a wider range of smartphones.

The Web giant released its first VR device, the low-cost Google Cardboard, in 2014, but the new one is reportedly being positioned as more of a direct competitor with the Samsung/Oculus Gear VR headset.

Citing sources reportedly familiar with Google's plans, FT reports the new headset will include "better sensors, lenses, and a more solid plastic casing."

Google declined to comment. However, as GameSpot sister site CNET reports, CEO Sundar Pichai said recently that Cardboard, which has shipped 5 million units, represents just the start of Google's plans for VR.

"It's still incredible early innings for virtual reality as a platform," Pichai said. "Cardboard is just a first step, but we are excited by the progress we have seen."

Oculus’s Mobile SDK (currently at version 1.0), will be used to publish apps and games, making for a more compelling VR platform the Google’s Cardboard. Google is reportedly planning to implement a similar system (headset, SDK, Play Store integration, et al.) with their own version of VR and as a result, open up the world of VR to a much wider audience (GearVR only works with a select few Samsung phones).

The device will reportedly feature better lenses and sensors and will probably integrate VR into Android itself and add support for a larger variety of handsets. This is exciting news indeed and we’re now eagerly looking forward to Google I/O (May 18-20) where we will, hopefully, get some more information on the project.

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