Google Daydream: Everything you need to know about the VR platform
The essential guide to how Daydream is evolving as a virtual reality platform, and a headset was a critical link in that chain
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Google is truly taking the virtual reality (VR) game a notch higher than the Cardboard. Enter the Daydream platform. First unveiled at the 2016 Google I/O conference, the Daydream platform gained much greater importance at the 2017 Google I/O in May—there is much more happening now in the space. What was missing from the jigsaw thus far was a VR headset, something that was truly the reference device for more such headsets. The Daydream View headset is now rolling out with a price tag of Rs6,499 in India, and is currently exclusive to Flipkart.com for purchase.
What is Daydream, really?
Not limited to just a VR headset, Daydream is essentially a platform that sets the standards for VR hardware, which it is expected that other manufacturers will follow and build on. The idea is to make the VR experience of viewing 360-degree content more immersive, with support for more Android phones, and a larger chunk of VR-specific apps too.
What is the hardware for Daydream?
The Daydream hardware includes a headset called Daydream View, a motion controller for navigating the apps and support for a wide range of Android phones. It is believed that Google is using HTC’s expertise in making the Daydream View headset. To run this hardware, you will need to download the Daydream app (free) from the Google Play Store to set up the hardware, get access to apps and more.
Will my phone work with Daydream?
At present, specific phones are compatible with the Daydream platform. This means that only these phones will be able to download the Daydream app, which will work with the View headset. The current list of compatible phones includes the Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, the Moto Z, the ZTE Axon 7 and Huawei Mate 9 Pro. It is expected that the Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+ and the Asus Zenfone AR will also get Daydream support very soon.
What can you do with Daydream?
Quite a lot, actually. For starters, you get a proper app store with VR compatible apps. You get a variety of apps such as Guardian VR, Netflix VR, YouTube VR, apps from the Discovery network and even games such as Need for Speed: No Limits VR. The 360-degree immersive viewing experience on offer is significantly better than any smartphone VR platform ever before. And we expect it to only get better, as more apps and content becomes available for Daydream. Gamers out there would be happy to note that developers such as Ubisoft, CCP, Netease, Electronic Arts, Otherside Entertainment, Minority VR, Resolution, Turbo Button, nDreams and Climax Entertainment have already confirmed support for Daydream, and we can expect even more titles in the coming few weeks.
Can the Samsung Gear VR be the other choice?
Yes, if you own a fairly recent Samsung Galaxy flagship smartphone, you can take advantage of the Gear VR headset too. The experience and the quality of VR apps on offer is quite nice as well. However, that headset will not work if you own a phone made by another phone maker—let us say you own the Google Pixel, the Gear VR will not work with that device. This limitation means that the user demographic will be limited too, and that in turn could mean slower interest by app developers.