Jan 9, 2018

Google debuts standalone VR headset, 180-degree camera

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.

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Trump to install loyalist Ric Grenell as acting intelligence chief

Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

President Trump confirmed in a tweet Wednesday night that he will install Richard Grenell, the current U.S. ambassador to Germany and a staunch defender of the president, as the acting director of national intelligence.

Why it matters: The role, which was originally vacated by Dan Coats in August 2019, is one of grave responsibility. As acting DNI, Grenell will be charged with overseeing and integrating the U.S. intelligence community and will advise the president and the National Security Council on intelligence matters that concern national security.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

What to watch in the Nevada debate

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Cengiz Yardages and Mario Tama/Getty Images

Michael Bloomberg's wealth will fuel rather than shield him from tests and attacks when he makes his Democratic primary debate debut on the stage tonight in Las Vegas.

The state of play: Bernie Sanders is still the front-runner. So the other candidates must weigh which of the two presents a bigger threat to their viability: Sanders, with his combined delegate, polling and grassroots momentum? Or Bloomberg, with his bottomless budget?

Go deeperArrowUpdated 9 mins ago - Politics & Policy

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