Google Daydream is Google’s attempt at virtual reality. (GOOG)

The Mountain View company had earlier released Google Cardboard, a VR headset made from cardboard and fitted with biconvex lenses. The headset is extremely cheap and, in some instances, has even been distributed for free. 

Google’s strategy of disseminating VR to the masses was a direct contrast to that of Facebook Inc. (FB), which acquired Oculus Rift, a premium VR headset maker, for $2 billion. Much like its selling price, Oculus Rift’s headset are also expensive. Its cheapest headset retails for $599. 
While Google Cardboard is cheap, the range and quality of VR available with the device is limited. 

Google Daydream is a step up from Cardboard. 

According to Clay Bavor, vice president of virtual reality at the company, the device is about “enabling very high quality VR.” The Daydream platform consists of a headset called Daydream View, a controller, and a content platform. Unlike typical plastic VR headsets in the market, Google Daydream is made of fabric and is available in multiple colors. 

Fabric ensures that the headset that is a good fit, is lightweight, and does not leave marks on the bridge of the nose. The controller is used to navigate VR space and adjust options, such as volume controls, within it. Finally, the Daydream platform consists of VR content. When the platform was launched earlier this year, it had limited content. But that is expected to change in the near future as VR becomes mainstream and more content producers enter the game. (See also: NFL Makes VR Debut On Thanksgiving Day). 

Reviewers have generally given Google Daydream thumbs up. Tech publication Ars Technica compared the platform to a “decent meal at a moderately priced fast-casual restaurant” and wrote that the device was the simplest of any VR headset as far as out-of-the-box setup is concerned. (See also: Google Acquires Eye-Tracking Technology Startup). 

That said, there are a couple of drawbacks on the platform. 

While the headset is untethered in that it does not require a connection to a computer or a gaming console, it does require Daydream-ready Android phones with the necessary sensors and persistence display for playback. 

Currently, there are only three Android phones – Google Pixel, Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe, and Moto Z – which have deemed Daydream-ready. Bavor has said that the number of such phones will multiply in the future and the company is already working with Samsung and HTC Vive to make VR ready headsets. Reviewers have also pointed to the absence of positional tracking and “warping” around the edges of 3D scenes due to limited field of view. Their tests have also resulted in the Android phone becoming unusually hot after playing VR content. This is because the number of operating system processes required to run VR taxes the phone’s central processing unit (CPU). 

 

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