Daydream View is Google’s newly announced VR headset for Daydream VR: Here are the 6 things you NEED to know
Google announced its new VR project Daydream VR in May, but at the time nobody quite knew what Google was building – was it a platform, was it a headset? Turns out, Daydream VR is a little bit of both.
Built into every Android 7 Nougat smartphone of the right hardware configuration, Daydream VR is a simple app that unlocks the potential of VR on mobile. To complement its Daydream VR app, Google has designed and built a VR headset called Daydream View. Somewhat reminiscent of the Oculus Rift, Daydream View goes head-to-head with Samsung’s Gear VR mobile headset, except that this headset is built for any Android device.
Revealed at Google’s “MadeByGoogle” event, Daydream VR and Daydream View are still very much ongoing projects. Currently only the Google Pixel and Pixel XL are Daydream VR-capable, but here’s a quick rundown of everything we know about Google’s mobile VR plans and headset.
Daydream VR: 7 things you need to know
1. Daydream VR only works with Pixel phone right now, but more are on the way
At the moment, Google’s latest flagship smartphones are the only devices capable of working with Daydream VR. It’s unclear exactly why, but it may explain why Google has gone all out with Pixel’s hardware specifications.
During Google’s MadeByGoogle event, no other phones were listed as supporting Daydream VR or Daydream View, although Google’s Clay Bavor stated that more devices are on the way.
2. Daydream VR has its own headset, Daydream View
After looking at the mobile VR headsets on the market, Google believed that there really wasn’t anything out there capable of realising Daydream VR’s potential. So, clearly, the only thing Google could really do was build its own headset – say hello to Daydream View.
Looking somewhat similar to an Oculus Rift thanks to its fabric-wrapped appearance, Daydream View draws upon some of the smart design cues of Cardboard – such as a flap at the front to snugly fit your phone into. It’s also 30% lighter than other headsets on the market, and has enough space for glasses wearers to enjoy VR content without having to take off their specs.
If you’re still fashion-conscious when you’ve got a device strapped to your face, you’ll be pleased to know Daydream View comes in three colours. Having worked with fashion designers, Google came to the conclusion that people want a Slate-coloured device first, with a “Snow” and “Crimson” device coming shortly after.
3. Daydream View is simple to use with no cables
One advantage of mobile VR over a dedicated VR headset such as the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift is how simple it is to use. Anyone who’s made use of a Gear VR or Google Cardboard will know that mobile VR isn’t as straightforward as you’d like, that’s where Daydream View comes in – it’s deliberately simple.
Slide your phone into the phone holder at the front of Daydream View and, once you close its flap, it automatically starts up Daydream VR. In that process, it also aligns the screen with your viewfinder and orients it within the space with the headset’s positional tracking.
Interaction in VR is also blissfully straightforward, using a wireless and intelligent remote control as standard.
4. Daydream View has an intelligent and precise remote control
Google’s small Daydream View remote control is packed with intelligent tech to help make interacting with Daydream VR simple. Google promises that the motion sensor on the Daydream View remote is so accurate that you “can draw with it”. While Google aren’t giving anything away with such a statement, it could be a clue that the Google-made Tilt Brush VR could make its way onto Daydream VR sometime in the future.
If you’re worried about losing your remote, don’t. Google has built a slick storage solution into the front flap of Daydream View, allowing you to slide your remote snugly into your headset when not in use.
5. Google has worked with developers to build smart apps
Mobile VR has so far had a worrying dearth of content. That’s why Google has jumped right in with developers to help make Daydream VR a viable entertainment platform. On stage, Google showed off a new Harry Potter experience built with WB Games, along with CCP’s EVE Gunjack 2 and educational experiences such as Starchart VR.
In terms of entertainment, Netflix, HBO and Hulu have all vied to bring their entire catalogue of films and TV shows to Daydream VR. Google is also bringing its own experiences to Daydream VR with Google Play Movies, YouTube, Street View and Photos working with your View headset.
Interestingly, the New York Times is also bringing its VR coverage to Daydream VR, meaning users can get up close to the news in a way that nobody could have previously imagined.
6. Daydream View, and Daydream VR launches this November
If you think most of this Daydream VR stuff sounds like science-fiction or pipe-dream-like VR experiences, you’d be wrong – it’s coming this November. In fact, Daydream View is going to be incredibly cheap, undercutting Samsung’s Gear VR by pricing itself at just £69 from Google Store, EE and Carphone Warehouse – granted, eager users will need a Pixel or Pixel XL to use it.