Android N Projected to be VR Friendly

Android N and Virtual Reality

The trending news from the tech industry is, the next version of Android, codenamed as N, will have more support for Virtual Reality.

  • It will also feature support for Vulkran and some other UI tweaks.
  • The new version will also feature 3D Touch style pressure sensitivity and a split screen functionality for tablets in order to achieve multitasking.

The VR support is also suggested by the settings of this upcoming version.

Settings > Apps > Configure Apps > Special Access > VR Helper Services

This will probably show the apps that support VR. Even though it is almost confirmed that the Android N will have more VR support, however, the details are scarce. Google is also set to launch its own smartphone friendly VR headset. One of the reasons Android N developers are designing the new version to have extra support for VR ahead of the release of this headset.

Hardware Support

The version’s framework also has a new hardware support flag. It is “config_sustained Performance Mode Supported” which is set to provide sustained performance. Most smartphone’s SoCs are not good at sustained performance. Most processors in mobile devices are designed to support 2D apps. They open quickly and go back to sleep to save power. If the CPU and GPU are pushed over a long period, the chip will reach it thermal limit. As a result, the SoC will start to choke.

The initial VR gears could not be used for a long period because they would boot out of VR mode. This new hardware support seems to be included to tackle this very problem. It will change the SoC’s performance and make it more consistent in supporting VR mode.

Google’s Scope in the World of VR

The only VR related product we have seen from Google so far is the Cardboard app. But there have been rumors about Google’s increased aspirations about VR. Google is also working on a headset that should work on its own. But if Google wants to succeed it has to make this easily available. As we have seen with Samsung’s Gear VR, it caters to only high-end market and some top tier devices.

On any VR setup whether with PC or smartphone, you will be spending $500 at least. With the new version of Android and universally VR supportive apps, the possibility of affordable VR is very much plausible. It would not be high end but it will certainly bring the experience to the masses.

Future of VR

VR is clearly on the rise as shown by research. According to Greenlight VR, mobile VR headsets are expected to reach 122 million by 2025. There are currently only 1 million. The forecast also indicates that the tethered VR headsets will increase to 13.6 million by 2025. Many tech giants are focusing on VR as Facebook launched Oculus Rift and HTC released Vive this year alone.

With other companies embracing VR, it only makes sense for Google to incorporate this in their official API support. And with rumors, reports, and this developer version release, it seems like Google’s future endeavors are focused on virtual reality. To know more about this news, check out the article published on the verge.

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