Today’s Google event was about more than just the Pixel and Pixel XL. We saw a glimpse of Google’s vision for the future of VR back at I/O, and today we got to see what Google has been cooking up in the VR realm. The Daydream View VR headset officially announced today doesn’t differ too much in size or shape over what we saw at I/O, however the materials and construction look to have been improved pretty significantly over what we’ve seen before.
The most notable change is in the materials. The designs shown at I/O didn’t look particularly special. What we saw today though wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. My first thought was that perhaps they’d made the Daydream View out of someone’s sports coat, but the more I look at it, the more I really like the fabric and microfiber design. These materials reportedly make the headset 30% lighter, and it was said that it is very comfortable to wear. The design is also said to fit nicely over eyeglasses, a factor that will affect quite a few of us.
As I mentioned in the Pixel and Pixel XL announcement, those are currently the only Daydream ready phones, though we were told that more capable phones would be forthcoming from other OEMs and partners.
Google really wants VR to be easy to use and have set up Daydream View to work as simply as possible. Simply place your phone into the viewer and it will talk wirelessly to the Daydream View, letting you jump right into VR with an auto-alignment system. The controller is equally easy to use, with a clickable touchpad, a couple of buttons, and loads of sensors that will interpret your every move. Google’s VR Team Lead, Clay Bavor told us that the response of the controller was precise enough for you to be able to draw or write your name in the air.
Hardware is certainly important, but this VR platform will live or die based on the software support. Google brought out the big guns early in that regard. We first heard about a partnership with J.K. Rowling, and an adaptation of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them where you play as a wizard, and your controller acts as your wand. Games, video, and even news are currently pretty well represented by companies such as Netflix, HBO, Hulu, NY Times, and more. We were told that there will be more than 50 VR partners for Daydream View by the end of the year.
Maybe the most pleasant surprise of the day was the price. Daydream View will be available in November for $79, which includes the headset and controller. If you’re thinking about buying a Pixel or Pixel XL, you can get a Daydream view for free (US only, sorry!) for a limited time.
What do you think about the Daydream view? Did you already order one? Are you on the fence? Tell us all about it in the comment section below, or on Google+, Facebook, or Twitter.