Google Bailed On Its Own Oculus Rift, HTC Vive Competitor To Focus On Mobile VR
While there are a number of different VR solutions on the market today, the main competition really boils down to Oculus, with its Rift, and HTC, with its Vive. As we now learn, there could have very well been a third competitor in this small group: Google.
The fact that a company like Google was working on a VR headset probably won't strike many as a surprise. After all, Google has an unbelievable amount of resources to throw behind interesting new products, and as we've seen proven time and time again, it can end up dominating certain markets (especially thanks to its acquisition prowess).
Interestingly, Re/code reports that Google only "recently" shut down the internal project that was working on such a thing, which implies that the project had probably come along quite far. Did Google simply see the competition as too fierce? Not so - instead, it comes down to the fact that more streamlined operations end up being much more efficient. Google apparently didn't see enough return-on-investment to warrant pursuing that particular market further - meaning, dedicated headsets.
Google's not leaving VR, though; instead, it's shifting its focus entirely towards mobile VR. It's not hard to understand why: almost everyone has a smartphone, and because of that, almost everyone has at least some VR capabilities in their hands. All you need beyond a smartphone is a simple contraption to hold it in front of your face.
Alongside a dedicated head-mounted display, Google was also working on a dedicated OS for VR. That's apparently since been scrapped in favor of Android, which makes all of the sense in the world - there's no need for fragmentation when Android is capable enough.
While Oculus and HTC dominate the HMD arena, we might very well see Google claim the same for mobile VR.