There’s no doubt that virtual reality is quickly becoming a popular technology among mobile users. Google foresaw this and released Google Cardboard about two years ago at I/O 2014. This year however, Google decided to step it up a notch with an entire virtual reality platform that the company is calling Daydream.
Daydream is not only the software side of virtual reality, it includes the hardware side as well. Once released, the platform will include a virtual reality operating system powered by Android called Daydream Home, a reference design headset, and reference design controller. What will be powering these Daydream headsets is the same thing that powered Google Cardboard, your phone. Just like with Google Cardboard, users will insert their smartphone into the headset and it will function as the display. There is one significant difference though and that’s Google being selective on which smartphones can actually be used in a Daydream headset. In order for a smartphone to be used with a Daydream headset, it must first gain Google’s approval. Getting said approval requires the smartphone to have things like advanced motion sensors for accurate head-tracking and a very high-quality display.
When using a Daydream headset the user will be able to play games as well as consume content. Google has even gone as far as to create a new version of the Play Store specifically for use in a virtual reality environment. This means that users will be able to search for and install virtual reality apps right from the Daydream headset itself.
Google announced on stage this morning that the first of these Daydream headsets should be available “this fall.” Along with this, the company also announced that they already have eight hardware manufacturers on board to create Daydream approved smartphones. These manufacturers include HTC, Samsung, LG, Asus, Huawei, Xiaomi, ZTE, and Alcatel.