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January 10, 2018

Lenovo’s Mirage Solo, two compact 180-degree video capture cameras coming soon

by John_A

After finally appearing on the Federal Communications Commission’s website in late December, Lenovo’s stand-alone Mirage Solo virtual reality headset made its official debut at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It’s based on Google’s Daydream platform for Android, and provides full-motion VR experiences without the need for external sensors or a tethered PC.

Stand-alone finally arrives in Q2 2018

Lenovo’s Mirage Solo is the first stand-alone VR headset supporting Google’s Daydream platform for Android. Up until now, Android device owners could experience VR content using Google Cardboard and their phones, or they could purchase a “premium” headset to experience Daydream-based content on select phones. Google’s Daydream initiative is similar to Samsung’s Gear VR.

Google revealed during its developer conference in 2017 that stand-alone Daydream devices would arrive by the end of the year. HTC jumped off the Daydream bandwagon to produce a stand-alone headset based on Qualcomm’s reference design in China. Thus, Lenovo is now the only other manufacturer producing a Daydream stand-alone headset for now, but it won’t hit the market until the second quarter.

180-degree captures in your pocket

In addition to Lenovo’s stand-alone VR headset, the company revealed a new compact camera for capturing 180-degree videos and images. Called the Mirage Camera with Daydream, it joins one other camera slated to arrive in the next several months manufactured by YI Technology called the YI Horizon VR180 Camera. LG is also on the list, but doesn’t plan to release a product until later this year.

All three mainstream products will support the new VR180 format. Google introduced the format in June of 2017 as a result of a collaboration between the YouTube and Daydream teams so that anyone — whether they’re a video novice or a professional — can create and upload 3D videos supporting a 180-degree field of view.

“Creators only have to worry about recording what’s in front of them while viewers get an awesome, immersive experience with a VR headset, or a video that looks just as great on a phone as any other video,” said YouTube’s Susan Wojcicki.

The VR180 format stems from a request made by content creators and viewers who simply want to sit and experience video without having to turn a full 360-degrees. Content is easier to create, and the resulting cameras can be pocket-sized because all you need are two lenses. Content can be high-resolution too and work on any device, but the real magic happens inside VR headsets like the upcoming Mirage Solo from Lenovo.

According to Google, the new format is invading professional cameras too. Panasonic is stuffing VR180 format support in its GH5 cameras while the just launched Z Cam K1 Pro already supports this format.

That all said, let’s start the 2018 Daydream rollout with Lenovo’s highly-anticipated stand-alone VR headset!

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