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.

Lenovo Mirage Solo

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.

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7 replies on “Report: Google working on a standalone augmented reality headset”

  1. I guess VR is in a lull period, to put it mildly. It certainly sounds like companies are excited about AR more right now. Whether the mass market is excited about AR is completely separate just like with VR. Fancy tech isn’t going to get those sales outside tech enthusiasts.

    I hope this isn’t another Google Glass worn by glassholes again. I wonder if Google is targeting a more indoor product rather than a wear all day creeper device.

  2. Since VR hasn’t been successful so far (some say this VR cycle is already dead), it seems companies are trying to pursue AR more than VR now. Especially after Pokemon Go’s success.

    We’ll see if this AR push is successful. Although it already seems like much of the focus is on tech and not so much on actual content/use cases. It could be a sign of repeating VR’s stalled adoption beyond tech enthusiasts.

    1. I wouldn’t say that VR is “dead.” I just think that the applications just haven’t caught up with the technology yet. If someone were to come out with a productivity program that could really take advantage of the technology, I think VR would explode into the mainstream. As it is though, VR apps are currently limited to watching movies and playing simple games.

      1. Sounds like VR or at least the tech being developed are solutions trying to find a problem. I guess that’s one approach. It would have been nice if applications were identified and then solutions were created.

        Right now, it seems companies are wasting money on things they’re guessing would be useful in VR/AR. I wonder how long they’re willing to do that hoping someone will eventually find a use for their tech.

  3. I really can’t see myself ever getting into VR. AR on the other hand is quite interesting. I can see all sorts of daily uses for AR and not having to wear a toaster on my face is a plus too.

    1. How do you see yourself using AR? This article talks about a headset which may/may not be a full standalone toaster. Do you hope to see something like a Google Glass (that whole glasshole thing was funny), smartphone based or something else?

      1. The trick will be to avoid the “glasshole” image but allow for calling up repair manuals while working on cars, etc. Showing menus of restaurants when looking at the building. Reminding you of a spouse’s/kids name(s) when running into someone you haven’t seen in a long time. etc. The unit would have to have a camera, but maybe not the ability to record/store.

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