The man best known for cofounding the tech blogs Gizmodo and Engadget, Peter Rojas, said today that Google will be unveiling a new platform known as "Android VR" along with a standalone VR headset at Google I/O next week.

This is not the first time we've heard of Google's phone-less VR hardware ambitions, and Google I/O's already-published schedule contains VR sessions aplenty. Rojas' tweets give us a bit more information in terms of the alleged experience and branding, which he calls Android VR. While Rojas refers to Android VR as a piece of hardware, it seems likely that the Android VR name refers to the entire experience Google is developing to work with this hardware, so I'll be curious what exactly the headset itself is called. If it is, in fact, marketed as Android VR, that would mark the first time Google has ever used Android to describe a physical, for-sale product. (All previous uses, like Android Wear, [email protected], Android TV, Android Pay, and Android Auto described apps, platforms, or experiences, not hardware.)

Rojas says the experience will not quite be up to Vive or Oculus Rift level, which given that it is standalone and using mobile-grade hardware (i.e., will not use your phone or a connected PC to power the visuals, it has its own full mobile chipset) makes a lot of sense. He does say it's "better" than Gear VR according to what he's heard, but that's obviously going to be a fairly subjective evaluation given he does not claim to have actually used it himself.

At least one mention of Android VR has also been spotted in the latest Unreal Engine preview.

Independently, we have some additional tidbits about Android VR that we have not yet been able to verify beyond our initial source (in other words: take them with a grain of salt). Given that the announcement is all but imminent, we've decided to share them.

According to our source, Android VR may include not only a headset, but a controller of some kind - it's unclear if we're talking about Vive-style hand controllers or a single gamepad-style device, or something in-between. As you may have intuited by now (it's kind of obvious), Android N will also support VR - though we expect Google to bake in VR support to an extent that gets all the way down to things like the homescreen. This could mean a new, VR-specific Android launcher or launcher layout. Finally, we know that Google's internal codename for the project is "Mirage," which seems quite fitting. Unfortunately, the age of this information and the fact that it is from a single source means we cannot vouch for it to the extent of publishing a story for its own sake. It is entirely possible, for example, that the plans for a controller changed or were put on hold since we received this tip - we just don't know. That said, at the time we received it, we found it trustworthy and believe the source to be reliable. So, just consider it something to think about.

I/O is certainly going to be interesting this year.