What is Google Daydream and Google Daydream View?
Daydream is a new way to watch games and videos on your phone. Instead of looking down at the screen and swiping your fingers across the screen, you can put your phone in a custom-made headset and experience an immersive 360-degree experience that lets you really step into the world instead of watching it on a small screen.
daydream view is the first headset created for the Daydream platform. It is comfortable enough for anyone to wear for a long time, even if you wear prescription glasses. It also comes with a dedicated controller that allows you to move your hand in the real world and see that movement in the virtual world while you’re wearing the headset.
This is Google’s first attempt at a more comfortable way to experience VR, and it’s been designed to withstand drops and bumps without issue. You can take this headset with you almost anywhere and enjoy VR apps and games wherever you are. The front panel folds down, you place your Daydream Ready phone in the opening and close the panel. The connection between the phone and the headset is wireless, and the headset is equipped with an automatic alignment system that ensures a clear image on the display. It’s not much easier than Daydream View, and when you put your head in, the whole world is replaced with a virtual one.
What can I do in Daydream?
There really is no limit to what can be done in Daydream. By using Google Play Movies, you can watch movies on a huge projected screen, watch news stories like you’re standing right where the action is with CNN VR, or jump to photos you’ve taken on your phone with VR Photos.
If gaming suits your style better, you can hop into the cockpit of a hovercraft in PolyRunner VR or take on hordes of totems and monsters in Hunter’s Gate. You’ll also find ready-to-install puzzle games and science learning apps.
Google’s current list of Daydream apps already has over 50 titles, with more planned. Netflix and HBO have debuted, action-packed games have arrived, and there’s a big push to bring the Internet to Daydream with a dedicated VR browser. Like I said, there really is no limit.
So does it replace Google Cardboard?
Not really. Google is touting Cardboard as a near-free thing that anyone with any kind of phone can use for a «light» VR experience. Whether you’re looking for a better 360-degree video experience, or interested in adding depth to something like walking around the house you’re interested in buying, Google Cardboard is still popular. It’s fast, inexpensive, and works on just about anything.
Google Daydream is a more complete experience. When you put on the headset, you can explore the whole virtual world. Each application is part of a larger experience that is similar to what you see on some of the more expensive virtual desktop platforms. Daydream is designed to let you use it for extended periods of time, like watching a movie or exploring a place in a world you’ve never been to.
Will my phone work with Google Daydream?
Your current phone probably won’t, but your next phone might. Currently, the only phones that support Daydream are the Pixel and Pixel XL, Moto Z, and ASUS ZenFone AR.
The Pixel and Pixel XL were created by Google and were the first Daydream-enabled phones released, with the understanding that many phones in the future will work with Google Daydream. Moto Z and ASUS ZenFone AR are now part of this understanding.
In order to provide the same experience for everyone, Google had to put some restrictions on what hardware and software was allowed to provide in order to create such an experience. The full list is deeply technical, but basically your phone should have:
- Bluetooth 4.2LE
- Display from 4.7 to 6 inches
- Screen resolution of at least 1080p @ 60Hz with 3ms or less latency and 5ms or less persistence. (Quad HD or higher recommended.)
- OpenGL ES 3.2 and Vulkan
- Ability to decode 2 instances of 60fps video at the same time
- Sequential rendering 60fps
- Temperature sensors capable of reading device surface temperature
These aren’t the kind of things you’ll see at the end of a box at your local store, so Google makes it easy with stickers that say Daydream Ready.
Is Daydream worth it?
If you have a Google Pixel, Moto Z, or ZenFone AR, Daydream is absolutely worth checking out. Anyone thinking about Daydream support for a phone they might need later should think about what they actually want in a VR experience.