Google’s much anticipated Daydream View and controller have officially been announced today and they bring a high quality product to the space of mobile VR. How will it compare to others in the mobile arena and the HTC Vive overall?
For starters, Daydream requires a mobile phone to act as the viewer and as of right now the new Google Pixel phones (made by our beloved HTC) are the only certified devices to pair with the hardware. Newer phones from other manufacturers will adopt the tech into their lineup, but for now has mobile and PC VR covered!
I only wish HTC could take credit for making the viewer itself, but hopefully they will get a chance to enter the mobile arena with a similar Daydream product.
What is Daydream?
This is Google’s grown up version of the Cardboard viewer and personal answer to compete with the Samsung Gear VR viewer.
Google took a step back and put comfort front and center of its focus while designing Daydream. In fact, the word comfort can almost be substituted with luxurious, because come on, this thing looks comfy and high quality. And that’s without it having any brains in it, because that’s where the phone comes in.
The new Pixel phones connect wirelessly to the headset so there’s no snap-in connection to worry about and the phone will auto-detect the screen location to split the display in just the right spot for the viewer.
Daydream also comes with a single controller that conveniently stores inside the display compartment to prevent the user from misplacing it when not in use. The small device has a clickable-thumb track pad similar to the track pads on the Vive controllers and will add a new dimension to high-end mobile VR as Google is encouraging partners to develop the use of the controller into VR apps.
Imagine picking up a remote in your virtual space to select your favorite show on Netflix or Hulu.
Daydream content partners
Google announced that they are working with developers to produce matching high quality experiences to go along with the Daydream viewer.
If you are a fan of wizardry, Fantastic Beasts and where to find them from the Harry Potter series is a title you would be interested in.
For the shooter-game fans, there’s Gunjack 2 which is a space fighter and gives you the flexibility to move your head, but aim your guns in another direction with the controller. Kind of like you do with the Vive…
All YouTube content will be view-able in Google’s viewer in a theater view at a minimum.
Google says there will be at least 50 apps available at launch with an expectation to grow into the hundreds next year. Sounds a lot like the path the Vive was on when it launched…
Does Daydream compare to the Vive?
It’s hard to put the Vive and Daydream side-by-side, but Daydream excels the quest to make virtual reality a common platform for content consumption which is really good for the ecosystem. Google’s headset paired with their controller brings mobile and desktop VR closer than it has been in the past.
Google’s new HMD isn’t going to replace Viver’s in the world; if anything it’s going to encourage users to extend their reach into virtual reality. Having said that, Daydream looks like a well-built platform supported by a huge company that wants to push us in the direction of consuming content virtually. Sign me up!
With the recent announcement of HTC Viveport, I wonder how long it will be before Google lets HTC offer content to Daydream users. The new Pixel phones are made by HTC and future phones that HTC produces will be Daydream-ready so why not direct purchases through Viveport for similar and unique content.
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