Variety has learned from various sources that Google may unveil a standalone virtual reality headset at its annual I/O conference later today.

The headset would be able to run on its own, without the need a separate computer or a phone to run games and VR experiences, unlike Google's Daydream View VR headset. Reports that Google was working on such a headset have been circling since the beginning of 2016, so the company has had over a year to develop it.

Rather than use a smartphone for the screen, Google's new VR headset will have a screen built-in, make use of what's being called "inside out tracking" and have high-powered chips. Variety's sources aren't sure whether the new headset will run on Android or an entirely new operating system.

Inside out tracking will use sensors built into the headset to track the user's movement, rather than use outward facing cameras or sensors that headsets such as the PlayStation VR, HTC Vive and Oculus Rift all use. It's thought Google's new headset will share much of the same technology that's been developed for the Project Tango augmented reality platform.

By being able to track movement without the need for external sensors, and provide VR and AR experiences, Google's new headset could potentially rival the Microsoft HoloLens. It will almost certainly go head-to-head with Microsoft's affordable range of virtual reality headsets which use 'six degrees of freedom sensors'.

Google's I/O conference kicks off at 10am Pacific Time (6pm BST). Pocket-lint will be bringing you all the latest news and product announcements as they happen.