Sony is perhaps better known for its entertainment-related products, but on the big screen, in the living room, and on consoles. It is precisely because of that fact that many Xperia phone owners have been rather disappointed that the company didn’t capitalize on those properties to bring at least the PlayStation experience to Android. Now it seems that the company might be bringing a cinematic experience to its high-end Xperia phones, courtesy of a VR headset like the defunct Google Daydream and Samsung Gear VR.
Sony already does VR, but it took a page out of the old Oculus and HTC Vive books rather than Google Daydream or Cardboard. The PlayStation VR has to be hooked into a PS4 or PS5 console and has to remain tethered to those boxes. With standalone VR headsets becoming the fad these days, Sony will apparently try to revive the old concept of using a smartphone as the brains and eyes of a VR system.
The images that Sony Alpha Rumors was able to obtain included a rather bulky headset that dwarfs even the Daydream VR and Gear VR. It has a front panel where an Xperia 1 II or Xperia 1 III would be docked while having its cameras unobstructed. In theory, this design would allow the cameras to act as sensors for correctly placing a user inside a virtual space or, alternatively, allow for a “passthrough” view of the real world ala mixed reality.
Curiously, the leaked materials indicate support for 8K HDR 360-degree video, despite the Xperia 1 III maxing out at 4K. There is, unfortunately, not much else about the headset itself, though that shouldn’t be too surprising. Smartphone-powered VR gear leaves everything to the smartphone and only takes care of properly splitting the display for each eye.
Sony has an event in less than two hours where this mobile VR throwback could be formally announced. It might also share the stage with a second-gen Xperia PRO-I and its gimbal accessory. Given the dissimilar design of this “vlogger phone,” it’s unlikely to be compatible with this leaked VR headset.