Google released more details about Daydream last night and it promises to make Virtual Reality a mass market channel when it launches next month.
VR baked into Android OS
Daydream is deeply integrated into Android Nougat OS with Google’s Pixel phones VR ready out-of-the-box. As with everything Android, Daydream is expected to scale across multiple manufacturers with Samsung, Asus, HTC, Huawei and ZTE confirmed to produce Daydream-ready phones. To be optimised for VR, smartphones need high quality SoC (system on chip) to maintain 60 frames-per-second, low persistence displays to reduces lag and high-end sensors to reduce latency. This is the next evolution of mobile powered VR and should deliver user ‘presence’ and make longer experiences inside virtual spaces more enjoyable.
Daydream View Headset with Controller
The headset is a serious upgrade from Cardboard, it leap-frogs Samsung GearVR and we’ll have to see how it performs compared to tethered headsets like HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Google will be opening up their tech to other companies so it’s likely we’ll see different versions of the headset next year. We really like the inclusion of a controller - a cross between a Wii remote and Apple TV touch remote - which already makes HTC Vive so intuitive compared to headset buttons or fledgling gesture controls. It in effect brings touchscreen functionality to virtual worlds.
Play Store App Ecosystem
The entire Play Store is accessible while wearing the headset which is a cool feature to discover new apps. This level of navigation moves VR closer to the mainstream as a seamless experience. The announcement to make existing Google apps Daydream compatible reinforces this approach, with Google Maps, YouTube, Photos and Movies automatically viewable in VR. The gold rush will start in earnest with Netflix, Hulu, HBO and New York Times already on board. Unity and Epic support also makes the development of advertising experiences an exciting prospect.
Last but not least...
Google also confirmed that Project Tango will work with Daydream, teasing the future integration of three-dimensional depth and motion which digitally maps your physical environment. At this point, the lines between VR and AR blur into Mixed Reality. The platform shift to visual computing platforms is accelerating at breakneck speed so now is the time for marketers to define their strategy.