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Google is developing a virtual reality headset that doesn't require a separate phone or PC to operate, according to a new report in Variety. It could be shown at this week's I/O conference in Mountain View, according to the report. A Google representative was not immediately available for comment.

The background: Google introduced its Daydream effort at last year's I/O conference, but that headset (above) requires a compatible smartphone, as does Samsung's Gear VR. Other units, like HTC's Vive or Oculus' Rift require a tethered PC. There have been reports that Google was working on a standalone system for more than a year.

The pros: A standalone unit is more mobile and, in theory could be better tailored toward just the VR experience than a phone-based system. Google's system could also tap the company's Project Tango effort to help map the world around the user and detect when someone has, for example, leaned forward or taken a step. Known in industry jargon as positional tracking, this typically has required external cameras or sensors.

The cons: By not tapping the phone for display and processing, a standalone mobile VR headset is likely to be far costlier than Gear VR or Daydream while probably not offering as much performance as the Rift or Vive.

Go deeper

Updated 49 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Education: Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic.
  3. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  4. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  5. World: Hong Kong puts tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge — Pfizer to supply 40 million vaccine doses to lower-income countries.
  6. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.
Bryan Walsh, author of Future
4 hours ago - Health

Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden's plan to accelerate the reopening of K-8 schools faces major challenges from a still out-of-control pandemic and more contagious coronavirus variants.

Why it matters: The longer American kids miss in-person schooling, the further they fall behind. But the uncertain state of the science on the role young children play in the pandemic continues to complicate efforts to reopen schools.

Focus group: Former Trump voters say he should never hold office again

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

"Relief" is the top emotion some swing voters who used to support Donald Trump say they felt as they watched President Biden's swearing-in, followed by "hope."

Why it matters: For voters on the bubble between parties, this moment is less about excitement for Biden or liberal politics than exhaustion and disgust with Trump and a craving for national healing. Most said Trump should be prohibited from ever holding office again.