The first standalone virtual reality headset to support Google’s Daydream platform is now shipping. The Lenovo Mirage Solo is a $400 headset that doesn’t require a phone or a PC to work. Just put it on, pick up a wireless controller, and you can start playing games, watching videos, and interacting with VR apps.
So what’s next? If a report from WinFuture is correct, Google has its sights set on augmented reality.
The company is said to be developing a standalone AR headset that would basically be the company’s answer to Microsoft’s HoloLens: a device that doesn’t block out the world and replace it with virtual scenery, but which superimposes virtual objects on your real-world view.
According to WinFuture, Google is working with Taiwanese manufacturer Quanta on a headset. Right now it’s known by its model number, the Google A65, but t’ll likely have a different name if and when it comes to market.
It’s also possible that this is a prototype or reference design, much like Google’s new Android TV dongle which is aimed at developers. It’s unclear if Google plans to sell its own headset or offer a design that companies like Lenovo can adopt.
Given that Lenovo is the only company to launch a standalone headset so far (HTC dropped plans to launch a similar device), I wouldn’t be surprised to see Google take matters into its own hands though.
WinFuture says the Google A65 features a Qualcomm QSC603 quad-core processor with two Kryo 300 Gold ARM Cortex-A75 CPU cores and two Kryo 300 Silver ARM Cortex-A55 CPU cores. It’s also said to feature cameras and microphones for voice controls, and since we’re talking about an augmented reality device, there will probably be some sort of display technology that allows you to see the world around you as well as digital content that’s painted on top of that view.
The report also notes that the QSC603 chip supports 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 5.1, and GPS, but not 4G LTE. So it’s likely that you’ll either need a WiFi signal to get the most out of the headset or that you’ll have to pair it with a smartphone for connectivity on the go.
Of course, this wouldn’t be Google’s first attempt at augmented reality. The company’s Google Glass headset was either a massive flop, or ahead of its time when the first units hit the streets in 2013, depending on how you look at it. These days Glass isn’t exactly dead, but it’s turned into a niche product aimed at enterprise customers.
If Google really does plan to take another swipe at consumer-oriented augmented reality hardware, it’ll be interesting to see what the company does differently this time.