After months of speculation about Google’s latest offering in the VR world, Clay Bavor, vice president of virtual reality at Google announced Daydream VR at the Google I/O conference Wednesday.
Daydream VR is a platform, as a part of Android N, for high quality VR, and is a three-pronged effort comprised of smartphones, a reference design for a headset and controller, and apps.
Bavor announced a cluster of phone-makers that will be making phones with the specifications that will support Daydream VR including Huawei, Samsung, HTC, and LG. Those specifications cover sensors, displays, and processors.
Next, Bavor showed off an open design for a headset and controller, that looks like a remote, that seems to have some type of positional tracking–similar to a Nintendo Wii or Apple TV remote.
Third, there’s the apps. Daydream VR will have something akin to Oculus Home, meaning users can browse and purchase apps from inside VR. Partners like CNN, Hulu, MLB, IMAX, HBO Now, and others will bring content libraries. Users will also be able to experience photos, Google Street View, as well as YouTube, which Bavor said they’ve rebuilt from the ground up to work with VR.
The Daydream platform will be available to developers ahead of the fall release date, meaning that folks can get going creating for Daydream sooner than later. As it will still be a mobile-driven VR experience that’s compatible with a variety of phone makers, and already takes into consideration the controller, Daydream could end up being a serious competitor to Samsung’s Gear VR, which so far has existed as a mid-level virtual reality experience. And Daydream has the advantage of not just being for Samsung phones. The Gear is already appealing to businesses as a more polished older brother to Cardboard. Now, Daydream could further attract businesses for its open design and versatility.