Android VR: everything you need to know

Google launched a new division in 2016 specifically dedicated to virtual reality. Although initially it was not clear what the new division does, it seems that the focus is on developing a platform called Android VR.

Google is working some time with virtual reality. In 2014, the search giant introduced a VR glasses of cardboard called Google Cardboard. In February 2016, it became clear that those glasses probably get a successor with a sturdier plastic housing, better lenses, and built-in sensors. The first Cardboard is still dependent on the sensors in the smartphone and should be held during use.

Cardboard apps
VR Theater for Cardboard

After adjustments, Cardboard must be able to compete better with the Gear VR, the VR glasses from Samsung which was developed in collaboration with Oculus. The Gear VR works only with Galaxy smartphones and uses its own platform where users can discover games, apps and videos. Using another type smartphone in the glasses, is, in contrast to Cardboard, unfortunately not possible. Cardboard is also an open platform, meaning anyone can develop apps and experiences for there.

What is Android VR?

According to the latest reports, Google will announce simultaneously with the new Cardboard a platform for virtual reality called Android VR. The VR goggles currently works with compatible applications that are found through the Google Cardboard app, but the VR platform is going to be integrated directly into the operating system. That way, it should have fewer delays, eliminating nausea during use. It would also be possible to control Android in VR, which of course should enable some interesting options.

If Google succeeds with Android VR to reduce delay that occurs during use and expands the amount of content, the platform would be a formidable competitor for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Two VR goggles that do not rely on your smartphone, but cost significantly more. Android VR can also build on the foundations laid with Cardboard. For that platform, there are more than 1,000 apps available and thanks to the easy accessibility, millions of people can experience virtual reality.

Oculus Rift
The Oculus Rift.

Android VR release

According to sources at the Financial Times, Android VR will be announced at the developer conference Google I/O, which takes place from 18 to 20 May. The new Cardboard is expected in the autumn of 2016 and possibly simultaneously announced with the new Nexus smartphones.