Meet Daydream , Google’s vision of Virtual Reality

 

Google is not a newbie in VR deals. They have already launched an ultra cheap VR headset Google CardBoard which is basically nothing but a cardboard box and a couple of lenses. But this time they’re getting serious. They launched an ultra dope piece of hardware inspired by Googles very own iconic material design and definitely feels premium. They announced it earlier this year on Google I/O and finally launched it on October 4th. So let’s talk about this exciting new gear from the makers of android.

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Inspired by Material concept

Daydream View headset:

Google has announced its headset you’ll be able to use with Daydream-ready phones. It’s called Daydream View and unlike other VR headsets we’ve seen before it has a material design. There’s a latch on the front to slide your phone in and the controller for the headset is included.

What can it do?

Google Daydream will run apps and games downloaded from the Play Store making it easy to find experiences to use on your headset. According to Google, by the end of 2016 there will be over 50 apps and games available on the platform.That includes a Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them tie-in experience as well as an app called Star Chart that allows you to explore the solar system as you look around. Google also showed off a shooter game from the makers of EVE called GunJack 2.

Netflix, HBO and Hulu will all have Daydream ready apps in the coming months, plus The New York Times will launch an app too for its VR videos.

Plus, Google will also make its own apps compatible with the Daydream platform. It’s including Play Movies, Photos, Maps and YouTube when the platform launches.

Unity and Epic also announced development support for Daydream on the gaming side of things. Here’s some early footage of a Daydream prototype developed my Epic.

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Design

The Daydream View headset shown off by Google is only one option for Daydream VR. It’s also letting other companies take hold of the tech, which will likely result in a variety of different looking headsets.

Google has divvied out a few details about its controller, which resembles a Wii remote, and shares some common physical traits from the latest Apple TV touch remote.

On its top, it will feature a clickable touch pad to bring native touchscreen-like gestures to the virtual world. Next down, there is an app button that will put your (you guessed it) apps within view. Lastly, the home button will return you to the home screen of Daydream.

There’s also an entire user interface within Daydream that’s ripe for discussion.

The Daydream hub looks refined and quite similar (OK, almost exactly the same) to the Oculus Home found within the Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR. You’ll use the motion controller to navigate the menus and swap between apps, games and movies.

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The stunning interface

As Daydream will be deeply integrated into Android Nougat, it was a neat surprise to see that Google has put the entire Play Store within view while wearing a Daydream headset.

Performance

Daydream requires these three pillars in order to be a viable VR option: smartphones that are optimized for VR, with a high quality system on chip (SoC) to maintain 60 frames-per-second playback, low persistence displays to eliminate ghosting and lag, and finally, top-notch sensors that operate with minimal latency to boost the sense of presence.

So, what sort of performance can we reasonably expect out of it? Well, you’d be right to think that it really depends on the power of the phone that’s inside.

Google’s new Pixel and Pixel XL phones pack a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor and 4GB of RAM as well as running a FHD (1080p) screen on the Pixel and a QHD (2K) screen on the Pixel XL. You can bet that these devices will be primed to push high-quality VR experiences.

But, let’s say that you have one of the upcoming Daydream Ready phones and power isn’t much of an issue. Sources have suggested that Daydream will provide better performance than the Gear VR, but (understandably) not as good as what the Rift or Vive can push.

as time goes on, bringing more powerful systems on a chip (SoC) and pixel dense screens along with it, Daydream will begin to play ball on the same court as PC-tethered headsets. But that’s not to say that it won’t be showing some serious promise out of the gate.

Unity and Epic each announced their support for Daydream, which will open the door for game developers to push their next projects out for Google’s new VR platform.

Google is making Android Nougat as VR-friendly as possible. To do that, the Daydream team worked closely with the core Android team to build VR mode, consisting of some new features that will help squeeze high levels of performance out of your daily driver.

First off, low latency support is coming to Android Nougat to help your actions, like head or controller movements, appear onscreen with minimal delay. Next up, there’s a new sustained performance mode to help phones stay at that high level of performance for a longer duration of time than we’ve seen previously in Cardboard, a notorious battery sucker.

Nougat will take full advantage of your Daydream Ready phone’s sensors with new head-tracking algorithms. And, to keep you in the viewer when a call or text comes through, Google has ported several elements of N’s user interface into Daydream.

Daydream + Project Tango

Project Tango is Google’s ambitious VR/AR technology that packs all of the fanciest features you’ve seen in the Microsoft Hololens into a tablet, or in Lenovo and Intel’s case, some very large phone. It relies on a multi-camera and multi-sensor setup to detect three-dimensional depth and motion, which can digitally map the space around and find your location in it so you can run amok. The end result brings your reality into a virtual one, which holds a ton of promise.

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