Have you heard the fact that the recently updated Android N Developer Preview contains references to a “Virtual Reality Mode” aka “VR mode”? I don’t know about you, but to me, it was obviously that Google’s virtual reality ambitions go way beyond Cardboard, that low-cost viewer for smartphones that everyone talked about for a good while.
Now, it seems that the company has big plans: I am talking about integrating such a VR functionality into Android N, the next big release of the company’s mobile operating system.
The new developer preview build for Android N includes the first hints of this directly integrated VR functionality. To be more precise, the references are about a special system for games and apps that tap into VR. A new service, “VR Listener,” can become an opportunity for developers around the world to register their VR apps with Android. By doing that, they will have the choice of permitting or denying requests on a per-app basis.
All apps that successfully register will have the capacity to easily run when you are using applications in virtual reality mode. I know that you are eager to find out as much as possible on this topic – after all, this is the very first official mention of any sort of virtual reality mode for Android – but to be honest things are still surrounded in mystery at this point.
We still don’t know what exactly such a “virtual reality mode” might comprise or the form that Android’s “virtual reality mode” might take. However, rumor has it that Google intends to release a more advanced version of Cardboard at the end of this year, also working on a standalone headset that most probably packs motion-sensing positional cameras.
And even if these rumors are not true and things might go in a different direction, one thing is for sure: the idea of a virtual reality mode for the Android experience across headsets sounds amazing, not to mention the possibility of getting a headset-agnostic virtual reality mode — a mode that could easily look and behave the same no matter which viewer you chose to use. This is only the beginning, so be sure that I will keep an eye on things and keep you updated!
After all, Google is planning three more developer preview builds of Android N (if not even more) before it launches later in Q3 2016! And with the company’s annual I/O conference coming up next month, we expect to hear much more from Google itself.