Google's Daydream VR breaks free of the smartphone with new standalone headset

Google's Daydream VR breaks free of the smartphone with new standalone headset

Google has announced a few new products made by its partners and one of them is the Lenovo Mirage Solo.

The problem, though, is that, like other VR headsets, there still isn't a killer app for Daydream VR. The $199 headset will lack the Mirage Solo's positional tracking and more powerful internals, but sits at what may be a much more palatable price point for consumers wanting to flirt with the technology but who aren't quite ready to buy a bulky PC or a game console variant. Microsoft (MSFT) also offers a similar technology in its Windows Mixed Reality headsets. Lenovo calls it "WorldSense". In short, you can dodge, bank left, or jump, and all of that will be tracked and interpreted by the platform.

On front of the headset, there are two cameras, which undoubtedly will be used to merge Google's AR and VR aspirations - possibly even something akin to Lenovo's Star Wars Jedi Challenges experience?

The Mirage Solo is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB UFS of storage (expandable up to 256GB by microSD slot), and a 4000 mAh battery, hence no need for a smartphone. The screen is a 5.5-inch LCD that offers 1280 x 1440 pixels per eye. It comes with a wireless hand controller for navigating the Daydream user interface. "We also lined the areas that touch your face and forehead with breathable, insulated contoured padding for maximum comfort".

Fancy hardware would be meaningless if it didn't have the software to utilize it. To learn more about Daydream's VR180 program visit vr.google.com/vr180.

Google's Daydream VR breaks free of the smartphone with new standalone headset
Google's Daydream VR breaks free of the smartphone with new standalone headset

Our hands-on time with the Mirage Solo was limited, but it was more than enough to be impressed with what Lenovo and Google have accomplished. Pictures taken with the Lenovo Mirage Camera are still pretty immersive, and actually look pretty good.

The Mirage Camera starts at $299.99 and will be available beginning of Q2 2018. The standard is created to streamline content acquisition for delivery to VR headsets, using dual-lens 180-degree cameras with 3D support rather than 360-degree models. In fact, it's a 180-degree camera only. The videos are recorded in the VR180 format, which allows for immersive 3D playback with compatible devices, or controllable 2D video for those without a headset. It also promises a 110-degree field of view, an advanced blur-free display, and up to seven hours of battery life on a single charge.

Both Lenovo Mirage devices wiill go on sale sometime in the second quarter of the year. Running Android 7.0 Nougat and Google's Daydream OS.

The Lenovo Mirage Camera will be priced at "under $300".


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