Tuesday, Jan 25, 2022, 16:58 Hardware

Is Google Making A VR Headset? – Company May Take Different Approach Than Apple

Rumors concerning an Apple AR/VR headset have been spreading like wildfire over the last few months. We first reported on the matter back in 2021. Since then, the not-yet-released device has again managed to capture the media's attention. Many sources foresee the headset's presentation occurring as early as this year's World Wide Developers' Conference. However, Bloomberg reported just several days ago that Apple Cupertino would still need to overcome a few technical hurdles beforehand. Facebook (now Meta) has already been active in the virtual reality market for some time now and the platform is the entire basis of the company's new "metaverse". Back in 2014, the company purchased the well-known headset manufacturer Oculus.

Google Glass For Endusers A Complete Failure
In 2013, Google started its "Google Glass" project – a pair of glasses which would deliver visual information to its wearers. In March 2013, 8,000 customers were provided with the opportunity to try out an early version of the Google Glass – for US$1,500. The first version was called the "Explorer Edition", however, Google likely wasn't satisfied with the results of these early tests since the device never ended up making its way out onto the open market. Instead, Google reviewed its options in February 2015 after which the company came to the conclusion that its time would be better spent focusing on corporate clients. Google then fully equipped Boeing's corporate staff with the "Google Glass Enterprise Edition". The company still has yet to reveal any plans for a version of the Google Glass intended for the average consumer and Google has been completely silent concerning the matter.

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Google Begins Developing Headset
According to a recent report from The Verge, Google now has renewed interest in the AR/VR market. The report alleges that Google currently has around 300 employees working on "Project Iris". Google's intention is to develop a traditional headset reminiscent of a pair of skiing goggles. However, the development is still in the early ages and the current devices are only prototypes. Google should be aiming for a release date some time within 2024, as per The Verge.

In-House Google Chip – Usage Independent Of Mobile Phone
The report indicates that Google should rely on its own in-house chips for the device – taking after Apple. Just like the upcoming Apple headset, Google's won't require any smartphone to use. Unlike Cupertino's pending headset, however, Google's won't compute data directly on the device – rather, via the "cloud" at Google's data centers. This would mean that the device would likely stream its displayed content, rather than rendering and computing it directly.

Streaming Instead Of Direct Computation On The Device
According to various sources, the Apple headset should possess a strong processor – based on Apple's M-chips, capable of rendering its own 3D content. However, this will of course require a good deal of energy and computing power. Google wants to take on a different approach – instead of computing the 3D images directly on the device, the company would render everything in its own data center and then stream them to the device. There are several advantages to this approach: For starters, Google would be able to provide customers with a significantly lighter headset, since less rendering and computation would take place directly on the device itself. However, there are still several problems that could arise due to the approach: Firstly, there will be an assured delay – as is the issue with current cloud gaming services. Such delay is frequently referred to as "lag", or the delay between an input and a response dictated by the amount of time required for the headset and data center to communicate and transmit data to and from one another.

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