Google is reportedly working on advanced virtual reality headsets for Android-powered smartphones. According to a report by the Financial Times, the company is looking to challenge Oculus and HTC with a new device that will be the successor to Cardboard. It's believed to be similar to what Samsung and Oculus managed to launch for Galaxy handsets with the Samsung Gear VR.
From the FT report:
"The updated Google headset will be compatible with a much broader range of Android devices than Gear VR, which only works with a handful of recent Samsung Galaxy smartphone models, as the Alphabet unit tries to bring the technology to a wider audience. Google is hoping to improve the quality of the mobile VR viewing experience by embedding new software directly into its Android smartphone operating system, rather than relying only on a traditional app as it does with Cardboard today."
Google has declined to comment on reports detailing a new and updated headset, but Google CEO Sundar Pichai did state that Cardboard was only the initial step in the company's virtual reality efforts. In the Alphabet earnings call, Pichai teased that more can be expected from both Google and its partners in 2016.
While there has been no confirmation as to whether or not Google is indeed working on more advanced VR hardware, virtual reality is considered by many to be the next big thing. It would make sense for Google to take VR seriously and release improved VR hardware for smartphones, especially given just how expensive competitor products like the Sony PlayStation VR and Oculus Rift are.