NextVR: Google’s stand-alone VR headset will introduce iOS users to VR sports

If you have gone to a basketball game and never had to shout at an overzealous fan to get out of the way so you can watch the action, you must have had court side seats. But, in virtual reality, even court side seats do not preclude the occasional butt in the face obstruction. That could soon change. Following Google’s announcement of its first standalone virtual reality headset at this year’s Google I/O, Digital Trends spoke with NextVR co-founder and CEO David Cole about how the new headset will give you more freedom when watching basketball games in VR.

NextVR thinks Google’s standalone headset will bring more court side movements to mobile VR. “For instance, you are watching our center court camera feed and something obstructs the camera like a ref stands in front of the camera, you can physically move your body and look around it,” Cole said. That is thanks to Google’s WorldSense technology, which will allow its headset to track your motions without external sensors. The motion tracking is known as “six degrees of freedom” (6DOF) as you are able to move up, down, left, right, backwards, and forward in a 3D space.

Before you think you will be running on court to get face to face with Lebron, Cole wants to temper expectations.

Before you think you will be running on court to get face to face with Lebron, Cole wants to temper expectations. “This doesn’t mean you can get up and walk out on court,” Cole said “It is, in its first incarnation, limited to a certain sort of viewing box where we have camera coverage.” With the freedom afforded by a standalone headset, if NextVR can place enough cameras together, you may be able to walk around a basketball arena in VR.

If you have ever watched a basketball game in VR, you have probably been amazed at being court side, but a bit underwhelmed you could only look up down and around. Especially when a player or a referee obstructs your view and you can not adjust your view to look around them. That is because mobile VR headsets such as Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream only give you three degrees of freedom (3DOF) allowing you to look horizontally and around in a 3D space, but you can not move in it.

Watching a basketball game in virtual reality is taxing on the phone. Before you know it, it’s halftime and your battery is dying, your phone is hot, and the VR stream is choppy because of it all. Google’s standalone headset housing everything inside one device sounds like an explosion waiting to happen, but Cole thinks the Qualcomm 835 chip in the headset will be a game changer. “[Qualcomm] 835 is purpose built and beyond to do this computation without totally burning up the battery of the device.” That chip is handling so much it allows for the device to do other things which “lets you watch a full basketball game without killing your battery,” Cole said.

how virtual reality will change gaming movies sports travel nba nextvr 5

Virtual reality has steadily grown from a novelty to burgeoning industry, but there has been an Apple-shaped gap in the market. Outside of sticking your iPhone into Google’s Cardboard VR headsets, iOS users have largely been left out of the current VR wave. Cole sees standalone devices like Google’s as the perfect entry points for those users. “It’s appealing to the iOS user community, because even though [Google’s standalone VR headset] is an Android device, it’s really a VR appliance,” Cole said. “When you buy VR applications, you are buying Daydream applications, and not in any way Android applications.”

That means NextVR could soon bring tens of millions of iOS users their first viewing of a full basketball game in VR. Cole said he could not comment on if he knew about Google’s standalone VR headset before it was unveiled to the world at this year’s Google I/O. But, he did say “we are very familiar with the product.” So, expect NextVR to be a big player when virtual reality no longer needs your phone to be mobile.


New Sony patent suggests a wireless PSVR headset could be on the way

Images and documents in the Japan Patent Office appear to suggest that Sony is planning a wireless version of the PlayStation VR headset. It isn't clear which system it will be used for.
Social Media

Your Google+ public content will remain viewable on the web, if you want it to

Google's failed social network — Google+ — will soon be wiped from the internet, but there's a team of volunteers working right now to save its public content for the Internet Archive.

Here are our favorite features in Google’s first Android Q beta

Google has released the first beta for Android Q, and with it a number of great new features -- including faster sharing, better control over permissions like location, and more. Here are our top five favorite new features in Android Q.
Movies & TV

No TV? No problem. Here's how to watch the Final Four online

Whether you want to watch the Big Dance on your phone or on your smart TV, we have the lowdown on the ways to watch all the March Madness you can handle. Grab your foam finger and some nachos.

Take a trip to a new virtual world with one of these awesome HTC Vive games

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.
Virtual Reality

Is the Vive Pro better than the original Vive? Our answer might surprise you

HTC Vive vs. Vive Pro, which comes out on top? That's the subject of our latest comparison, which looks at everything from tracking solutions, to controllers, and the brand new headset that could set a new standard for VR.

Bringing realism to VR is complex, but these developers found a way in holograms

Making virtual reality feel real is the hardest job of all VR developers. For Awake: Episode One, StartVR used volumetric recording, rather than motion capture, to bring its characters to life like never before.

Samsung files a VR patent featuring a curved OLED display

Doubling down on its emphasis on curved displays, Samsung recently filed a design patent for a new virtual reality headset that could feature a curved OLED display, which would be an interesting development in VR.

HP’s high-resolution VR headset provides comfort and Windows Mixed Reality

HP's new VR headset reportedly offers an exceptionally high resolution, highlights comfort and runs on Windows Mixed Reality. HP hasn't officially announced the new headset, but here's a look at some of its features.
Virtual Reality

Think virtual reality is just for games? These awesome apps will change your mind

Virtual reality isn't all about gaming. Swim with turtles, paint in 3D, and immerse yourself in some unique experiences the platform has to offer with our curated list of the best VR apps.
Virtual Reality

Getting into VR is spendy. Which headset is truly worth your hard-earned cash?

Virtual reality has finally gone mainstream, but how do you find the best VR headset for you? Check out a few of our favorites, whether you want the best of the best or a budget alternative for your mobile device.
Virtual Reality

HTC Vive Focus Plus makes it easier for developers to port PC content

HTC Vive has announced the Vive Focus Plus headset. The upgraded stand-alone headset makes use of "six degrees of freedom" support in controllers for a PC-like virtual reality experience.

Here’s how to watch Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 press conference

It is widely believed that Microsoft's WMC conference will be the stage for the unveiling of the next generation of its HoloLens mixed reality headset. We have the live stream right here.

Microsoft unveils $3,500 HoloLens 2 at MWC 2019. Here’s what you need to know

The HoloLens 2 is ripe for an announcement. Here's what Microsoft has revealed so far, what's likely in store for the next generation HoloLens, and everything that we know about this mixed reality headset.