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Google Developing VR Version of Android, Reports Suggest

Search engine giant Google has already made a name for itself in virtual reality (VR) technology. Last year the company revealed its smartphone-based Cardboard head-mounted display (HMD), a low cost VR solution that has gone on to be used over 500,000 times in one form or another and be incorporated into other products such as the new View-Master. It appears that the company isn’t stopping there, however, and is preparing a new VR compatible version of its popular mobile operating system (OS), Android.

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A report from Wall Street Journal cites unnamed sources in saying that Google has employed a number of engineers to work on this new version of the device that will apparently be released for free for those already using Android. Google itself is yet to comment on the report, but this could mean that VR users could navigate staples of the Android OS such as the Google Play Store all without the need of removing a given HMD. Combined with a VR compatible menu it could be possible to interact with the OS and compatible videogames and experiences all through an HMD.

If true, this could be a sign that Google is ready to take VR as seriously as many of its rivals already are. No possible reveal or release timeframe for the new version of the OS has been mentioned so far. Samsung and Oculus VR has already created VR compatible Android storefronts and more for use with the Gear VR smartphone-based HMD, though this is strictly limited to use with the former’s own handsets. Some VR user interface systems rely on the HMD’s head-tracking solutions, allowing users to look at options they want to select in order to navigate to them.

VRFocus will continue to follow Google’s work in VR, reporting back with any further updates on it.