Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is working to make Android the preferred operating system for virtual reality. The company has put together a discrete team of engineers and staff to push forwards its Android virtual reality agenda, according to people privy to the project. The move follows Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s $2 billion acquisition of virtual reality company known as Oculus VR.
Google is expected to freely distribute the new Android version for virtual reality. That is not a new strategy because it is what the company has used to make Android the most popular mobile platform, powering more than a billion phones around the world.
Although the penetration of virtual reality devices is currently very small, filmmakers and those in the game industry believe it virtual reality has a bright future.
Google in low-tech VR
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) already has a low-tech virtual reality tool known as Google Cardboard. The tool, Cardboard, has seen over a million downloads for Android smartphones. Cardboard supports projection of 3-D images from smartphones and other sources.
Facebook jumped ahead of Google in virtual reality, buying Oculus, which is well-known for making hardware and software for virtual reality functionalities. Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, once said that virtual reality will become the next computing platform.
Virtual reality technology can be used in games, virtual doctor appointments and remote learning.
Facebook fueling VR competition
In the virtual reality war, Facebook is not only trying to stay ahead of rival Google by acquiring promising technologies, but also poaching talents. Facebook hired display technology executive, Mary Lou Jepsen, away from Google to come work on Oculus.
It is easy to understand why Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) seems to be in a hurry to stem further losses. The company’s top Android customer, Samsung Electronics, has also joined the Oculus virtual reality network for its wearable known as Gear VR.
The team tapped for Android VR
There are reports that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has tapped engineers Clay Bavor and Jeremy Doig to lead the creation of Android version for virtual reality. Bavor was involved in the creation of the low-tech Google Cardboard tool.