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Google cancelled its Oculus Rift competitor to pursue VR on smartphones

At one point in time, there was talk of Google developing its own virtual reality headset, a high-end one in a similar vein to the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. However, it now seems that the company may have cancelled its original vision in order to pursue VR on smartphones, like the Samsung Gear VR.

This news comes from Re/Code, citing sources familiar with Google’s internal plans for virtual reality. We already know that Google recently announced Project Daydream, which aims to be a platform for Mobile VR, but it seems that this project did come at the expense of another.

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Development on Google’s own Oculus Rift rival ceased quite recently, apparently in an effort to streamline a few ambitious projects. In this case, Google had two teams, one working on high-end VR hardware and another working on the software side. However, both were shut down to shift focus to Project Daydream, which will run on Android instead.

From a business standpoint, this is probably a safer way to go. Google’s Android OS is already well established and most people have a smartphone these days. By comparison, far fewer people have a PC capable of running VR well, so right off the bat, Google has a larger customer base by sticking with Android and focussing on mobile experiences.

Unfortunately, the report doesn’t give us many more details on Google’s new virtual reality headset, it will run Daydream, but we don’t know what smartphones it will pair up with, or when it might come out.

KitGuru Says: I would actually be quite interested to see what Google was planning for its high-end VR headset. Right now on the PC-side we have companies like Oculus and HTC focusing on gaming so it would have been interesting to see Google’s approach.

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