An exhibitor fits a Virtual Reality (VR) headset to a visitor so he can experience a live interactive demonstration in the KDDI Corp. pavilion at the CeBIT 2017 tech fair in Hannover, Germany, (Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg)  

Google to Bring Standalone VR Headsets to Market This Year

(Bloomberg) -- Alphabet Inc.’s Google plans to push virtual reality to more people by working with hardware partners on standalone headsets.

At its I/O developer conference, the company said Wednesday it’s working with Qualcomm Inc. on a sample design so other manufacturers can build headsets that don’t require a connection to a smartphone or high-powered computer. 

Current VR headsets, including Facebook Inc.’s Oculus Rift and Google’s own Daydream system, require a PC or phone. Google is working on standalone headsets with Lenovo Group Ltd. and HTC Corp., the company said. The headsets are expected to begin hitting the market later this year.

The company also will expand its Daydream headset, which was announced last year alongside the Pixel smartphone. Support for the VR system on Samsung Electronics Co.’s new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus phones will be coming this summer, Google said. LG Electronics Inc.’s next flagship smartphone, expected this fall, will also support the Daydream device, Google said.

Virtual reality immerses users in an artificial world and initially has been taken up most actively for gaming.