Alphabet’s Google has quickened the pace of its push into augmented and virtual reality this week. Its hardware partners unveiled new smartphones featuring its technology at CES in Las Vegas. The search giant has been attempting to position the vast network of smartphones running its Android operating system for AR and VR, notes Reuters.

Google Alphabet GOOG
Image: Flickr

Adopting both AR and VR

After years of niche appeal, AR and VR are the two fields that many companies in the tech industry are poised to go mainstream. The China-based smartphone maker Huawei announced on Thursday that two of its devices will soon work with Google’s DayDream View. DayDream View is a VR headset the search giant launched released last year.

Also Taiwanese manufacturer AsusTek Computer declared that its ZenFone AR will support not only DayDream but also Google’s Tango software for AR. Asus became the first to support both technologies. At the show, Erik Hermanson, Asus’ head of marketing for mobile products, said this is the next wave of tech that is going to get consumers excited about smartphones. Huawei is also exploring opportunities for Tango, notes Reuters.

Google has stressed that the AR and VR programs do not overlap for now, but if the company pursues both, it can position itself for success, regardless of whether virtual reality or augmented reality becomes a mainstream hit.

TECHnalysis Research analyst Bob O’Donnell said they can cover the full potential of the market by having options for both.

Google still in the early days

Analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research said that even though the announcements expand the line-up of participating devices, the search giant still has much to do to take its tech to the masses. Dawson further notes that Samsung, the largest Android manufacturer, has yet to sign on.

“Google’s ecosystem for both AR and VR is in the very early days,” the analyst said.

Despite the interest of tech firms, mainstream consumer interest in the technology is still largely unproven. Analysts have said that the apps might be expected to stimulate demand, but until Google’s tech is available on a wider range of phones, it will be hard to persuade developers to build for the platform, notes Reuters.

Google VR Vice President Amit Singh told reporters, “We are waiting for app developers to really use the platform for what it’s for.”

On Thursday, Alphabet shares closed up 0.65% at $813.02.