Virtual reality is officially taking over. In the same way that an Online Casino can be seen as more popular than the real thing, virtual reality may just be better than real life to many people going forward. The questions are, will people get on board with this new technology in such a way that it does replace laptops, and computers, and the way we currently live?
VR is here
Experts have recently commented that people may not need their laptops anymore as virtual reality begins introducing new technology. A recent Meta Quest rumor suggested that the company is planning to launch popular Android apps on its headsets. This is part of a growing movement to make virtual reality useful for more than just gaming. New apps can do everything from enabling you to exercise and work out to facilitating you working in a virtual office.
Android apps on your VR headset could make a lot of difference when it comes to general productivity, providing access to a variety of software, such as Zoom and Microsoft’s OneNote. A Twitter user recently found some Android apps under the ‘preview apps’ section of Oculus. “A lot of people believe that virtual reality will eventually be the main computing platform for how people will interact with all digital content,” said DJ Smith, the co-founder of VR company The Glimpse Group, in a recent email interview.
“This would include replacing a lot of the functionality of today’s televisions, computers, and cellular phones. The simple analogy is, why would I need to pay for a big screen television in my lounge if I can put on a virtual reality headset and feel like I’m in my own private film theater.” Putting Android apps on the Oculus could open up a new universe for users, said Hayes Mackaman, the Chief Executive Officer of 8i, in a recent interview. “Right now, the pull of virtual reality is quite limited by the difficulty in navigating the application ecosystem as a whole.”
Consumers have gotten very used to having a problem-free user experience. To me, this is a big step in the correct direction for Oculus because the more that accessing Android in virtual reality can be seen as an extension of your current phone experience, rather than a problem, the greater the demand for the product.”
VR in the workplace
Work is the new frontier for virtual reality because most apps released at the moment for users are games. “One of the most vital short-term uses for Android compatibility is the pushing of the headset to the ‘workplace of the future’ market,” said the founder of Pixaera, Mousa Yassin. Pixaera is an immersive training company that uses both virtual reality and PC-based simulations.
“The headsets do need to become a lot more comfortable for long hours, but the ability to have access to everything we can access on phones can be a huge leap for Oculus.”
Yassin envisions virtual reality as the perfect distraction-free space where you can control your own working environment without any physical or hardware issues.
“You can open as many apps as you want at the same time and place them anywhere around a room,” he added. “While you’re working on an Excel sheet on one monitor, you can have investment charts on a huge cinema-size screen, with an active Zoom call going on to your left and so on.” Meta Quest owner Brian Turner is already using his own headset for his work.
“When using apps like Immersed, I’ve been able to connect to my PC, carry out my tasks, and stay productive all remotely,” he said in an interview over email. “In the same vein, Android would be useful in virtual reality by virtue of empowering the user. Giving people a choice in what technology they want to use is the next natural step forward in normalizing virtual reality on a larger and wider scale.”
But Turner isn’t getting rid of his laptop until virtual reality headsets get stronger battery life. He said his Meta Quest 2 lasts only about three hours on a full charge-up. “Having to take off your headset and go back to the laptop is very inconvenient because it breaks up the workday and harms productivity,” he added. “Until the next evolution in virtual reality technology, this will be a big inhibitor.”
While there is a lot of belief in VR, not everyone agrees that laptops and PCs are on their way out. Virtual reality headsets are still much too low-powered to handle many everyday computing tasks, said Casey Simone Ballestas, a virtual reality researcher at the Technical University of Delft, in an interview over email.
“Yes, there may be some cross-over in some use cases that are well suited to both computing types because gaming is a great use case that has proper traction within both computing domains,” she said. “But at its core, the needs of the user on a laptop are not the exact same as those using a virtual reality headset.”
Whether virtual reality will overtake PCs in the near future is still up for debate, with strong views on both sides of the argument.