Many people consider virtual reality to be the future of entertainment. Google wants to get out ahead of competitors so today it unveiled Daydream; a platform for virtual reality built on Android. VR headsets and “Daydream Ready” phones will launch this fall.
Google unveils Daydream
Google had already made it clear that it has big ambitions for virtual reality. They started the journey two years ago with the low-end Cardboard headset and last year they added YouTube VR.
At today’s I/O 2016 developer conference Google unveiled Daydream, which is a full platform for virtual reality that will launch this fall. Google will also launch a reference VR headset for phones. Other manufacturers will be able to use the reference design to create its own headsets, and are encouraged to build “Daydream Ready” phones that meet stringent requirements for VR set by Google.
The next version of Android – named Android N for now – is built ground up for virtual reality, meaning that Google has integrated a special VR mode and made sure that latency is as low as possible (20 ms ”motion-to-photon”). This means that you can access the Google Play store in VR and access VR apps from a new forest-themed environment. At launch you will have access to apps such as Netflix, YouTube, HBO, IMAX and Major League Baseball. Newspaper such the Wall Street Journal, CNN and USA Today are also on board.
Google will furthermore optimize its own apps for virtual reality. Through Google Play Movies you can buy or rent Hollywood movies – like today – and enjoy them in a virtual cinema hall that resembles a real cinema. Google Photos and Streetview will also be updated for VR.
Google says that mobile users have already downloaded more than 50 million VR apps for its low-end Cardboard headset.
Google VR headset and controller
Google wants to sell a VR headset for Daydream but based on today’s presentation it is not clear how exactly it will look and work. We only saw a rough draft. It sounds like a kind of Nexus product that will demonstrate to other manufacturers how to approach the new Daydream platform.
Google has also created a controller that lets you control and interact with objects in virtual reality. Ubisoft and Electronics Arts are the first major studios to commit to creating VR games for Daydream. The controller is described as a simple device with a few buttons and a touch field on top. Inside it has a range of sensors. Google will let partners use the reference design.
Google says that Samsung, LG, Huawei, HTC, and others all plan to launch ”Daydream Ready” phones later this year. The specifications for the “Daydream Ready” program were not announced in full.
Daydream will be released this fall but developers can start creating full-fledged VR apps today. Google hopes to make Daydream a major platform for virtual reality and hopes that everyone wants to join in on the fun.