|Type||Virtual reality platform|
|Release date||November 10, 2016|
|Introductory price||Daydream View (1st gen): US$79|
Daydream View (2nd gen): US$99
|Discontinued||October 15, 2019|
|Operating system||Native: Android (Nougat and up)|
|Dimensions||Daydream View (1st gen): 6.6 in × 4.2 in × 3.8 in (168 mm × 107 mm × 97 mm)|
Daydream View (2nd gen): 6.6 in × 4.6 in × 3.9 in (168 mm × 117 mm × 99 mm)
Daydream is a virtual reality (VR) platform developed by Google primarily for use with a head mount for a smartphone. It is available for select phones running the Android mobile operating system (versions "Nougat" 7.1 and later) that meet the platform's software and hardware requirements. Daydream was announced at the Google I/O developer conference in May 2016, and the first headset, the Daydream View, was released on November 10, 2016. To use the platform, users place their phone into the back of a viewer, run Daydream-compatible mobile apps, and view content through the viewer's lenses. A standalone headset with integrated hardware, the Lenovo Mirage Solo, does not require a phone to use.
Daydream is Google's second foray into VR following Cardboard, a low-cost platform intended to encourage interest in VR. Compared to Cardboard, which was built into compatible apps and offered limited features, Daydream was built into Android itself and included enhanced features, including support for controllers. Daydream was not widely adopted by consumers or developers, and in October 2019, Google announced that the Daydream View headset had been discontinued and that they would no longer certify new devices for Daydream.
Daydream allows users to interact with VR-enabled apps, including YouTube, Google Maps Street View, Google Play Movies & TV, and Google Photos in an immersive view. Google recruited media companies like Netflix and Ubisoft for entertainment apps.
First generation Daydream View
The first-generation Google Daydream View was announced on October 4, 2016. Daydream-ready smartphones can be placed in the front compartment of the Daydream View and then viewed in VR through the headset's two lenses. The View distinguished itself from previous VR head mounts by being constructed out of a light-weight cloth material, as well as featuring capacitive nubs and an NFC chip to simplify the process of setting up virtual reality viewing.
The Daydream View launched in a "Slate" color option. Two new color choices, "Crimson" and "Snow", became available on December 8, 2016.
In a review of the Google Daydream View, Adi Robertson of The Verge wrote that the headset was the "best mobile headset" she'd ever used, complimenting its "squishy foam-and-fabric body" being "significantly smaller, lighter, and more portable than the Samsung Gear VR", and that its design "keeps the lenses relatively protected during travel". She also liked the device's weight distribution, writing that it "rests more weight on your forehead than your cheeks, an option I've found more comfortable" and that allows her to "wear it easily for hours at a time". She also praised the material, particularly its plastic sliders rather than velcro patches on the head strap, writing that it allows "a wider range of sizes and avoids gathering lint", and that the View's overall design "could almost pass for an airplane sleep mask", meaning that it "avoids looking ostentatiously high-tech or intimidating".
Google Daydream headsets are packaged with a wireless controller. This controller can be used for interacting with the virtual world through button presses or through waving the device. On-board sensors are used to track the orientation of the controller and approximate the position of the user's hand. The Daydream View's controller can be stored inside the headset while not in use. The controller has a touch pad, two circular buttons (one functioning as a home button and one functioning as an app-specific button), and two volume buttons, along with a status light. The controller is rechargeable and charges via USB-C. On its support pages, Google notes that the Daydream View "doesn't include a charger or cables" and instead directs users to purchase those from the Google Store.
Second generation Daydream View
The second-generation Daydream View was unveiled during the Made by Google 2017 event. For the first time, it is available in three colors, namely: "Charcoal", "Fog", and "Coral". It is largely similar to the first-generation, with a few improvements, including a slightly altered design and improved lenses for a wider field of view. On the other hand, Augmented Reality is a major upgrade exclusive to the second-generation's design. It was released on 19 October 2017 with a launch price of US$99.
Lenovo Mirage Solo
Lenovo's Mirage Solo headset, announced at CES 2018, is the first standalone headset running on Google's Daydream platform. It is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 system-on-chip, has 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage expandable by microSD, dual mics, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a 2560 x 1440 LCD screen and a 4,000 mAh battery. Its highlight feature is support for Google "WorldSense", an improved position tracking technology.
Lenovo released the device in May 2018, with a price of $399.
Daydream will only work on certain newer phones with specific components. Google announced at the Google I/O conference in May 2016 that eight hardware partners would make Daydream-ready phones: Samsung, HTC, LG, Xiaomi, Huawei, ZTE, Asus and Alcatel. Phones dedicate processing power to the Daydream mode in order to reduce latency and prevent nausea. Google CEO Sundar Pichai expected 11 Android smartphones supporting Daydream VR to be on sale by the end of 2017.
|Pixel and Pixel XL||Snapdragon 821||October 4, 2016||First Daydream-compatible phone|
|Moto Z||Motorola Mobility||Snapdragon 820||Requires Android Nougat system update|
|ZenFone AR||Asus||Snapdragon 821||ZenFone AR is the first mobile device to ship with support for both Google Tango and Google Daydream capabilities, adding support for both virtual reality and augmented reality.|
|Mate 9 Pro||Huawei||Kirin 960|
|Axon 7||ZTE||Snapdragon 820||February 7, 2017||Requires Android Nougat system update|
|Galaxy S8 and S8+||Samsung Electronics||Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895||July 31, 2017||Requires rolling out System Update to enable functionality|
|Galaxy Note 8|
|V30||LG Electronics||Snapdragon 835|
|Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL|
|Galaxy S9 and S9+||Samsung Electronics||Snapdragon 845 or Exynos 9810|
|Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL||Snapdragon 845|
|Moto Z² Force||Motorola Mobility||Snapdragon 835|
In 2019, HBO discontinued its Daydream apps, while Hulu dropped support for the platform from its app. The Google Play Movies app for Daydream, which was developed and maintained by Google, was discontinued in June 2019.
On October 15, 2019, Google announced that it would no longer sell the Daydream View headset, and that their new flagship phones, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, would not be certified for Daydream. No phones released in 2019 are compatible with Daydream, and the company confirmed that no additional devices would be certified for the platform. A spokesperson said, "There hasn't been the broad consumer or developer adoption we had hoped, and we've seen decreasing usage over time of the Daydream View headset." The representative said that the company recognized the potential in smartphone VR but: "we noticed some clear limitations constraining smartphone VR from being a viable long-term solution. Most notably, asking people to put their phone in a headset and lose access to the apps they use throughout the day causes immense friction." Google confirmed that the Daydream app and app store would remain available.
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