Google Daydream View is ready to transform your next Android phone into an immersive virtual reality headset that gives you a way to experience 360 degree games, videos and panoramic photos if you fasten your phone into its all-fabric headset body. When it comes to virtual reality (VR), Google has already been very active in getting cheap devices into the hands of consumers, thanks to Google Cardboard, and even supplying them with plenty of content to view, through YouTube. This year the company introduced Daydream, a new VR platform for Android devices. Here’s everything you need to know about Daydream, Google’s fresh take on mobile VR.
The Daydream View has two particular hurdles to overcome. The first is customers still deciding whether or not to dive into the trend of virtual reality, which has been gaining a steady following over the last few years. The second is third-party providers who are about to invest in the platform, but aren’t sure whether now’s the right time to jump.
The design of the Daydream View is simple and aesthetically similar to its competitors, which includes the Samsung Gear VR. The Daydream View is a headset that hosts a mobile phone with a one-handed control scheme. It gives you a simple way to experience 360 degree games, videos and panoramic photos if you fasten your phone into its all-fabric headset body. The whole Daydream setup is similar to Samsung’s Gear VR system: users simply open the front flap and insert their compatible Android phone, and users can wear the headset over their glasses. There are no wires getting in the way, as the headset connects to the compatible Android phone wirelessly. There are currently three colour variations are available – crimson, snow, and slate, as well as a specific Daydream remote control that enables users to interact with apps without having to tap the side of the headset.
First off, Daydream View has some serious catching up to do in the games and apps department, and this could be a possible deal breaker for some. However, Google has promised over 50 Daydream apps by the end of the year, similar to what Sony’s promised for PlayStation VR. Today, it’s listing 25 launch apps, split evenly between games and non-game experiences. There is also the issue of phone compatibility: to run Daydream View you will need a Pixel or Pixel XL smartphone to do so, and compared to the 5.5-inch XL, the 5-inch Pixel distinctly narrows your field of view by a few degrees, leaving slim vertical bars around the edge of your vision. However, mobile VR really makes the case for pioneering 4K phone displays, with a higher resolution that’ll be able to meet the needs of pixel-dense virtual reality, hopefully as early next year.
SEEING INTO THE FUTURE
Google always strikes back: it responded to the iPhone with the Android, the Amazon Echo with the Google Home, and now it’s time for the Daydream View to compete (and perhaps beat) the competition. The Daydream View is only the first of what Google says will be an entire line for Daydream’s VR Platform introduced in Android 7.1 Nougat. And while the current incarnation of the product may not fix all the limitations or be as shiny and polished as it could be, it’s a very good start for Google’s expansive VR campaign and plants a very robust seed for future development. So watch this space; it appears Google will be Daydream-ing for quite a while yet; expect updates and improvements to be introduced soon. In the meantime buy your very own Daydream View on Google’s online store for a very affordable $99.
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