Google Possibly Rethinking VR Headset Internet Connectivity

Google Antenna VR Patent September 20 2019 AH

In short: Google is rethinking the manner in which contemporary virtual reality headsets are connecting to the Internet, according to newly published intellectual property filings reviewed by AndroidHeadlines. WIPO awarded Alphabet’s subsidiary with a design patent on one such setup that consists of WPAN and WLAN antennas spaced apart by a significant margin with the goal of maximizing network performance. The solution has been specifically envisioned for standalone VR headgear such as gadgets powered by Google’s Daydream platform. A similar system could also accommodate and make the most of a Bluetooth module, the tech juggernaut claims. Cellular connectivity isn’t outright mentioned in the documentation detailing the solution but presumably wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility.

Background: With Google being one of the largest technology companies on the planet, the vast majority of its patents will never be commercialized directly, though the emergence of highly specific solutions targeting a niche product category suggest the company remains committed to experimentation. In this particular instance, it appears Google is still keen to support the Daydream ecosystem in terms of both hardware and software, even though VR is still somewhat away from mainstream popularity. The Lenovo Mirage Solo standalone headset running Daydream is relying on a somewhat similar setup to the one Google patented earlier today, with the device supporting WiFi 802.11 ac/n connectivity, dual-band 2×2 MIMO, and Bluetooth 5.0.

Impact: With Google now securing the ownership of a VR headset connectivity solution that’s said to be more effective than traditional setups, the company might opt to license the technology to third parties or commercialize it itself. The latter scenario doesn’t appear to be a near-term possibility given how Google hasn’t been particularly active in the consumer-grade VR hardware segment in recent times and opted to let its partners take the product lead. Should the company surprise industry watchers and launch a new VR head-mounted display this year, it’s most likely to do so on October 9, which is when its next annual hardware event is taking place, primarily for the purpose of launching the Pixel 3 series of Android flagships.