Google’s high-quality virtual reality platform for Android, Daydream, is here, and so is the search giant’s headset — Daydream View.
The platform is Google’s strongest attempt yet at muscling into a market that competitors like Facebook’s Oculus, HTC, and others have already begun to corner. And more broadly speaking, it’s a show of confidence in a burgeoning medium that some say has the potential to upend entire industries.
Wondering what’s up with Daydream? Not to worry. We’ve rounded up all the pertinent details and fresh-off-the-press news for your perusal. Bookmark our handy guide to Google’s VR and never worry again about which phones support it, which apps are debuting on it, and which headsets support it.
During Google’s press conference in October, Clay Bavor from the virtual reality team provided more information regarding the company’s Daydream VR initiative. One of the first phones to support this platform is the Pixel phone, and other phones from manufacturers will follow suit soon.
The whole Daydream setup is similar to Samsung’s Gear VR system, only Google’s Daydream View headset is not locked to specific phones from a specific manufacturer. Users simply open the front flap and insert their compatible Android phone. That makes the headset extremely inexpensive when compared to the PC-based Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, as the smartphone provides all of the hardware necessary for an engulfing VR experience.
According to Bavor, the company looked at current headsets on the market and decided there was a problem: they do not offer a really comfortable fit. That led to the current design of Daydream View, as it is the byproduct of a collaboration between Google and several clothing manufacturers. The end result is a product featuring soft fabrics and a 30 percent lower weight than competing products on the market. This should be great on the phone as well, preventing possible scratches on the screen.
Bavor pointed out that thanks to this design, customers can wear the headset over their glasses. There are also no wires getting in the way, as the headset connects to the compatible Android phone wirelessly. Three color variations are available: Slate, Snow, and Crimson.
In addition to the headset, Bavor also introduced the Daydream View controller. It is small, sporting rounded edges and only two buttons. The peripheral includes motion sensors so that users can interact with the virtual environment, such as draw, shoot aliens, and so on. This controller can be stored in the headset itself when not in use thanks to a little snap-based compartment built into the headset’s flap.
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The headset is available on the Google Store as well as specific retailers. In the U.S., it will cost $79 and will be available at Verizon and Best Buy. In Canada, the headset will cost $99 and will go on sale at Bell, Rogers, Telus, and Best Buy. In the U.K., you can grab a Daydream at EE and Carphone Warehouse for 69 pounds. In Germany, it costs 69 euros and is only available at Deutsche Telekom, and in Australia, it will set you back $119, but you can grab it at Telstra and JB Hi-Fi.
The device only launched in the Slate color, but the Crimson and Snow variants are now available, and pre-orders are shipping on December 8. You can read our review of Daydream View here.