Android is already the dominant operating system in the smartphone market but Google has been trying to bring that dominance over to other areas in recent months, such as vehicles and wearable devices. Now Google wants to take over the the virtual reality market as well, which has exploded in popularity, and already has a team of engineers working on a version of Android that will power virtual reality systems.
Google Inc. wants Android to be the operating system for virtual reality. In the wake of Facebook Inc. ’s $2 billion purchase of Oculus VR, Google has assembled a team of engineers to build a version of the Android operating system to power virtual-reality applications, according to two people familiar with the project. Those people said Google has “tens of engineers” and other staff working on the project. Google plans to freely distribute the new operating system, they said, mimicking a strategy that has made Android by far the most popular operating system for smartphones, powering more than one billion phones. A version of Android for smartwatches has been less successful so far, with devices using it registering few sales. A Google spokeswoman declined to comment. The project is speculative, because no virtual-reality devices are yet shipping in large numbers. But game companies, filmmakers and others see huge promise in the field.