This rumored Google VR headset could be the one you’ve been waiting for

Google is reportedly at work on another VR headset, but it’s said to be totally different from its recently unveiled Daydream View headset. The currently unnamed project won’t require a smartphone and will be able to track your eyes and map your environment for augmented reality.

We first reported on this rumor all the way back in February, when information of a standalone viewer from Google stocked with “high-powered processors” came to the surface. 

Movidius, a company that Google partnered up with for its machine learning prowess, was originally stated to be the provider of its eye and head-tracking chips, and that information stands to be true in the latest information provided to Engadget by its sources.

And today, The Drum spotted the filing of an FCC application for a “wireless virtual reality” prototype that operates between 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz frequencies, further indicating that it’s an untethered device. But as Engadget states, there’s not enough information here to tell if this is the headset in question.

It won't need one of these

It won't need one of these

How’s it different?

While Daydream competes squarely with other mobile VR options, this self-powered headset is rumored to square off in the same ring as the big players in VR and AR, like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and the Microsoft HoloLens.

However powerful this headset ends up being, it will be a full step (or a few) ahead of today’s VR headsets in a few ways. First of all, it will be the first to feature inside-out tracking. Compared to outside-in tracking that’s commonly used, this headset will require no external sensors to track your movements, whether it be made with your eyes or your head.

Next up, it won’t require a smartphone to operate. Unlike the Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift, or even Google’s own Daydream View, this upcoming headset is said to be completely independent, powering the experience with its own set of processors and sensors.

It’s time to Tango

The other big differentiating factor is that this purported headset will be able to map your environment and be equipped to handle augmented reality applications. Sounds an awful lot like Tango, Google’s own AR venture, right?

Google’s vice president of VR, Clay Bavor, bluntly stated in an interview that “Tango is a part of can connect the dots.” Although Tango will likely appear on a Daydream headset down the line, it’s even more probable that it will debut on Google’s standalone headset first.

  • We sit down with Movidius to discuss what “VR 2.0” really means
Cameron Faulkner

Cameron is a writer at The Verge, focused on reviews, deals coverage, and news. He wrote for magazines and websites such as The Verge, TechRadar, Practical Photoshop, Polygon, Eater and Al Bawaba.