Today at Google’s I/O 2016 conference, Mountain View, California, the company revealed their plans for the next stage of virtual reality (VR). A new mobile head-mounted display (HMD), Google Daydream is set to launch later this year and is compatible with a wide variety of smartphone handsets. Google Daydream is a progression from the company’s first effort in the space, Google Cardboard, and is presented with a similar build quality to that of the Oculus VR and Samsung collaboration, Gear VR. A plastic HMD using specialised optics and interpupillary distance (IPD) alignment options, Daydream’s greatest advantage over the Gear VR is its compatibility with a wide range of smartphone handsets.
Mounted in the front portion of the Daydream HMD, the smartphone acts as both the visual processor and the screen for the device in the same fashion as both Google Cardboard and the Gear VR. Similar to the former, Google is not artificially limiting the range of smartphone handsets that can be used with Daydream, instead opting for a recommended specification known as ‘Daydream Ready’, for which smartphone manufacturers such as Samsung, Acatel, LG, HTC and Huwai are already developing. The HMD will also come packaged with a controller as standard. This wireless input system features a touchpad and 3DOF motion detection. It does not feature positional tracking akin to Oculus Touch or the HTC Vive’s motion-controllers, instead operating similarly to a Wii Remote. However, having a standardised input for the platform will most definitely be seen as a unique strength in mobile VR by many.
“Today is about how Daydream will enable high quality VR on smartphones,” stated Clay Bavor. The Daydream platform is set to launch in autumn 2016. Applications and software for Daydream will be available via Google Play, with a number of developers and partners having already been revealed. VRFocus will keep you updated with all the latest details on Daydream and the software set to be available for the HMD.