High profile internal move supports suggestions that Google has big plans for virtual reality

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Google’s initial play with virtual reality couldn’t possibly have been any more basic: the company’s first headset was quite literally made from cardboard. But suggestions that the company is more serious about VR than Google Cardboard have been backed by a high-profile exec change within the company spotted by Fast Company.

Jon Wiley, the lead designer of Google Search, has transitioned to become lead designer of Google Cardboard […] Wiley’s Twitter profile reflects his new position, and Google confirmed the move, but declined to share details as to when or why it occurred, or who will replace Wiley in his former role. What’s clear is that Google has invested a major design talent in VR.

The WSJ reported in March that Google was working on a new project to build a VR platform based on the Android operating system which would be free for hardware manufacturers, and Google last month announced a ‘Works with Google Cardboard‘ program to unify third-party viewers …  Read more

10 things the Google I/O schedule tells us we’re going to see at the event

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Google this morning officially shared the schedule for Google I/O 2015, and as you would expect, the schedule offers a handful of hints as to what we can expect to see at the event. We already told you about a few of the things Google has up its sleeve for this year’s I/O, but now we’re going to breakdown 10 things at which today’s schedule release has hinted…

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Google reportedly working on Android-based virtual reality platform

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Google is planning to jump into the virtual reality software game in a big way, the Wall Street Journal said today. The company is said to have “tens of engineers” working on a new project to build a VR platform based on the Android operating system. Like the smartphone version of Android, Google’s VR software will reportedly be available for free to hardware makers.

The virtual reality hardware market is growing at a speedy pace, started by Facebook’s purchase of Oculus last year. Oculus and Samsung teamed up to create a VR headset late last year, and smartphone manufacturer HTC partnered with gaming company Valve to build their own device called the Vive. Each of these devices run their own proprietary software.

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This is what it’s like to use the Vive, HTC and Valve’s amazing new VR headset (Video)

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At MWC 2015 during HTC’s Utopia in Progress keynote, everyone was completely surprised with the announcement of Vive. This is HTC’s amazing new VR headset/experience that was developed in partnership with Valve. Yep. That Valve.

Since the keynote, I’ve actually had a chance to experience Vive and I thought I’d share a little bit of that with you. Let me tell you… It was incredible. This was definitely the most immersive VR experience I have ever tested…

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Google announces Android/Unity SDKs for Cardboard VR headset, dedicated Play Store section

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Google today announced some updates for its Google Cardboard virtual reality experience that it says is now in the hands of around 500k people since launching in June (not including unofficial versions). The main updates include new SDKs for developers building experiences on Android and Unity and a dedicated section for virtual reality Cardboard apps in the Google Play store. Read more

Pinć $99 VR headset brings its Minority Report-style user interfaces to Android, preorders now live

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I first got my hands on Pinć (pronounced Pinch) last month when the company gave me a tech demo of its still-in-development VR headset/smartphone case that utilizes Minority Report-style user interfaces. The company initially opened up preorders for the $99 accessory for iPhones, but today it’s making the Android version official by offering Android devs the same opportunity to preorder the hardware ahead of an official launch next summer. Read more

Sketchy suggestion of “different direction” for Google Glass as company invests in virtual reality startup

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Chardan Capital Markets analyst Jay Srivatsa believes that a combination of two Google investment decisions could signal that the company is planning to take “a different direction” with Google Glass, reports StreetInsider.

Srivatsa noted that Google had decided against further investment in Himax, a company specialising in controllers for conventional head-mounted micro-displays, at the same time as investing in virtual reality startup Magic Leap …  Read more

Alleged leak shows Samsung Gear VR headset arriving Dec. for under $200

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According to leaked documents spotted by GForGames, Samsung is planning a December release for its new Gear VR virtual reality headset that pairs with the recently launched Galaxy Note 4. The document, which we haven’t been able to verify as authentic, also claims that the headset will arrive for 200,000 Won in Korea. That’s under $200 in USD (approximately $187). Read more