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Lenovo's new standalone VR headset and 180-degree camera, developed with Google (Photo: Google)

Google is expanding its Daydream VR effort, adding standalone headsets and 180-degree cameras to the mix, in partnership with Lenovo and other hardware makers.

Why it matters: Despite a lot of hype, virtual reality has yet to break through to the masses. Adding more ways to view content and create content could help break the chicken-and-egg logjam.

  • The Lenovo Mirage Solo headset is similar to Google's Daydream View, but eliminates the need for using your own phone. Standalone mobile VR isn't as capable as PC-based headsets like Oculus Rift or HTC's Vive, but has a few advantages over those that rely on a smartphone, including easier setup and better battery life. It will be available some time in the second quarter.
  • The Lenovo Mirage Camera is one of the first in a series of new 180-degree cameras from Google. The companies hope these cameras help spur the creation of more VR content in a format that is easier to use than 360-degree cameras like Samsung Gear 360 and Ricoh's Theta. Google is also working with others on these types of cameras and pushing a new VR 180 format for the resulting images. It's also coming in Q2.
  • Separately, Lenovo announced a standalone "Smart Display" with the Google Assistant built-in starting at $199 for an 8-inch model and shipping in the second quarter. Think Amazon Echo Show, but with Google's voice assistant rather than Amazon Alexa.

Go deeper

23 mins ago - Science

The "war on nature"

A resident stands on his roof as the Blue Ridge Fire burned back in October in Chino Hills, Calif. Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP

Apocalyptic weather is the new normal because humans are "waging war on nature," the UN declared on Wednesday.

What they're saying: "The state of the planet is broken," said UN Secretary-General António Guterres, reports AP. “This is suicidal.”

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Nursing homes are still getting pummeledU.S. could hit herd immunity by end of summer 2021 if Americans embrace virus vaccines, Fauci says.
  2. Politics: Pelosi, Schumer call on McConnell to adopt bipartisan $900B stimulus framework.
  3. World: U.K. clears Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for mass rollout — Putin says Russia will begin large-scale vaccination next week.
  4. Business: Investors are finally starting to take their money out of safe-haven Treasuries.
  5. Sports: The end of COVID’s grip on sports may be in sight.

Pelosi, Schumer call on McConnell to adopt bipartisan $900B stimulus framework

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Nov. 20. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to use a $908 billion bipartisan coronavirus relief framework as a basis for jumpstarting negotiations.

Why it matters: The framework, introduced by a group of bipartisan senators on Tuesday, calls for significantly less funding than Pelosi had previously demanded — a sign that Democrats are ready to further compromise as millions of Americans endure economic hardship.

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