Virtual Reality, as a concept, is ever evolving. And now, to make matters consumer-friendly, Google has joined forces with Lenovo to launch a stand-alone headset that will not need to be connected to PCs or smartphones. The device, hitherto in its first generation, will enter its second generation this year with all its computing onboard the headset itself. Unlike Facebook’s Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, the Mirage Solo will do away with the cumbersome wires and cables, making the headset lighter and more mobile.
The Mirage Solo will have its Lenovo-manufactured hardware complemented by Google’s Daydream VR Platform, thus creating an ecosystem that currently includes 15 Daydream-compatible smartphones. Utilizing Google’s WorldSense Technology, Mirage Solo will feature 6 Degrees of Freedom (6DOF), enriching the user’s VR experience by not only placing them in the center of a 360-degree view but also, according to Clay Bavor, allowing them to “duck, dodge and lean, and…step backwards, forwards, and side to side.”
Bavor has also said in a blog post that the Mirage Solo will feature high-performance graphics, a wide field of view, and an advanced blur-free display. It will be compatible with more than 250 apps and games, including, but not limited to YouTube, Street View, Photos, and Expeditions. It will also feature positional tracking and is hence expected to be compatible with Google Earth VR and Tilt Brush.
The project to develop stand-alone VR headsets in partnership with Google had initially been started by two companies, Lenovo and HTC. But the partnership between Google and HTC remains canceled following HTC’s decision to work on its own stand-alone VR headset, Vive Focus, to be released only in China and was announced last November. While neither Google nor Lenovo has said anything regarding the headsets’ prices or availability, it is anticipated that the Mirage Solo will be priced similarly to Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. The devices are also expected to hit the shelves sometime in early 2018.