Almost 10 years have passed since Google’s last (largely failed) version of AR – Google Glass. Now the tech giant seems to be getting ready for the release of a new AR/VR headset, codenamed “Project Iris”.
As Apple is well on its way to releasing its own AR/MR headset, Google will face stiff competition. And while Project Iris is still shrouded in secrecy, we’ve done our best to collect everything we know about the rumored Google device in one place.
Google AR/VR headset: what is it?
In a nutshell, this AR/VR headset will be Google’s attempt to develop a dedicated hardware product for experiencing virtual/augmented reality. The device is still in its relatively early development stage and pretty much all the information we currently have is only preliminary and subject to change. Multiple sources have confirmed that a Google AR/VR headset is on the way. Market analysts and leakers largely agree that Google wants to enter the AR/VR market and compete with Meta and Apple, two of its most prominent rivals.
Remarkable, the New York Times covered the company’s plans to produce an AR/VR headset in its own article in December 2021. In addition, job postings on Google’s website revealed that the tech giant is recruiting experts to develop an “innovative AR device.”
The biggest scoop on the Google AR/VR headset comes in the form of: an article published by the Verge some time ago based on internal information released by two anonymous Google employees.
According to the article, the Google AR/VR headset “uses outward-facing cameras to combine computer graphics with a video feed of the real world, creating a more immersive, mixed reality experience than existing AR glasses”.
Google AR/VR headset: release date
Right now, the expected release date of the Google AR/VR headset is sometime in 2024. At least that’s the date given by the Verge. Still, most pundits seem to agree that it’s far too early to discuss a concrete release date.
A 2024 launch is certainly possible, but somewhat optimistic, as the Google AR/VR headset is still in its relatively early development phase (as far as we know, anyway).
Google AR/VR headset: price
Since we know next to nothing about the hardware specifications of the Google AR/VR headset, a final price is virtually impossible to predict at this point, as it will depend largely on the cost of production and the amount of money spent on research and development at Google’s part.
A price tag comparable to that of the Oculus headset lineup (i.e. from around USD 300-400) is somewhat optimistic. The Google AR/VR headset is much more likely to be in the same price range as the Apple AR/VR headset.
Currently, rumors point to a price tag for the latter of between 1000-3000 USD. It’s safe to say that the price of the Google AR/VR headset is probably more in line with those numbers.
Google AR/VR headset: specifications
The Verge article is one of our limited semi-credible sources for deducing the device’s technical specs. According to the report, the Google AR/VR headset will likely be powered by a proprietary Google processor (possibly a Tensor) and will likely also run on a custom operating system made specifically by Google for the device.
More recently, in May 2022, we learned about Google’s acquisition of Raxium, a tech startup specializing in MicroLED technologies. The latter, due to its ability to make high-quality displays, yet small and energy efficient, is perfectly suited for use in VR and AR headsets. The deal was deliberately kept under the radar, with Google releasing little information on the details.
Google AR/VR headset: comparisons
As we mentioned, Apple is also working on an AR/VR headset that will reportedly debut sometime in 2024. In addition to Apple’s device, there are already a number of established leaders in the AR/VR market that Google will have to compete with.
Notably, Google will have to compete with Meta’s Oculus headset lineup, which will expand with the anticipated release of the company’s highly anticipated Project Cambria device.
There are other less prominent competitors for Google’s AR/VR headset, coming from companies like HTC, but Apple and Meta will be the two giants that Google should be on the lookout for.