Google is making a new virtual reality headset. It’s called Daydream View, and it’s a hybrid device that combines a headset shell with a high-end smartphone, the company revealed on Tuesday in California during an event.
The first phone to work with the Daydream View headset is, naturally, Google’s new Pixel phone.
Google’s calling the headset a “different take” on VR headsets. To this end, its covered in cloth. It looks more like a pair of fancy sweatpants than a VR headset:
Google says it wasn’t “inspired by gadgets” in the design, but instead went after something that’s comfortable, breathable, and easy to keep on. “We worked with clothing designers and makers to get the design just right, and the result is something that’s soft, and cosy, and feels great to wear,” said Clay Bavor, head of Google’s VR team, during the announcement on Tuesday.
Without getting into specifics, Bavor said the headset delivers a great VR experience, with a wide field of view and “low latency” tracking (an important spec in delivering comfortable VR).
He said the device is simple to use: open the latch, drop your phone in, close the latch. There’s no physical connection between the device and the phone — it’s a comfy set of lenses that holds the phone, which is powering the experience.
The only connection, between the Daydream View’s controller and the Pixel phone, is handled wirelessly after you slide your phone into the chamber on the front.
Here’s what the headset looks like being worn:
In addition to the headset, there’s a simple motion controller that comes with the headset. It’s got two buttons on the outside, and a bunch of motion sensors on the inside:
Google says the remote control can be used for a variety of things. “You can swing it like a bat or wave it like a wand. And it’s so precise that you can draw with it,” the product site says.
There’s even a little place inside the headset where you can store the remote control when you’re not using it:
Beyond Google’s Pixel phone, Bavor said a variety of other phones that are “Daydream-ready” will be coming in the coming months. Don’t get too ahead of yourself: Daydream View is unlikely to work with Apple’s iPhone anytime soon, as the software powering Daydream VR is built into Google’s Android 7.0 Nougat operating system.
So, what are you going to do in Google’s new VR headset? A whole bunch of stuff, according to Google’s Adrienne McAllister:
- A new experience from “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”
- A VR version of the fantastic “Star Chart” app.
- A sequel to EVE: Gunjack” (a space shooter game).
- Netflix, Hulu, and HBO (“their entire entertainment libraries”), on a massive virtual screen
- Reporting (in VR) from The New York Times.
- Google Play movies, YouTube, Google Photos, and Google Maps (Streetview in VR!).
McAllister says over 50 partners are bringing games and apps to Daydream View, with more to come; Google’s Twitter account backed that up soon after:
Google’s Daydream View headset arrives this November, in a variety of colours, and costs $79.
The full introduction video is right here: