Daydream VR headset ‘Made by Google’ to be launched

4 Oct 2016

Google to reveal Daydream VR headset for $79. Image: Aslysun/Shutterstock

As well as two new smartphones, Google’s foray into the virtual reality (VR) world will continue with the launch of a new Daydream VR headset ‘Made by Google’ at a big reveal tonight.

Google is stepping up its move into hardware with a holistic approach and more prominent branding.

At a 10/4 (4 October) event today, Google is expected to reveal a slew of new hardware.

Future Human

Unfortunately for Google, the surprise has been marred by UK retailer Carphone Warehouse as well as Canadian stores Bell and Telus, who have already leaked the specs and renders of the new Google Pixel and Pixel XL branded smartphones, manufactured by HTC.

But the latest nugget of knowledge to emerge could possibly feature an Irish connection.

As well as the new smartphones, Google is expected to take the wraps off its new Daydream VR headset, which will retail for around $79.

Earlier this year, we reported that Irish tech company Movidius – which was recently acquired by Intel for around $300m – signed a major deal to work on future hardware with the internet giant. It was also reported that Movidius was at the heart of Google’s plans to create a revolutionary stand-alone VR headset.

The headset won’t need to be tethered to a smartphone, games console or PC to function. It could include a screen, high-powered processors and outward facing cameras using chips from Movidius, to use the camera’s feed to track the motion of the user’s head.

Could Daydream VR be the same headset?

It is hard to say at this point, but according to Hollywood news bible Variety, the headset will be compatible with either of the two Pixel smartphones; so it is possible that Google may still be hard at work on a stand-alone headset.

Variety reported that Daydream-optimised smartphones automatically switch into VR mode when inserted into a Daydream headset.

Daydream will also ship with a handheld controller similar to a Wii remote to enable navigation and game play.

Made by Google

According to other reports, Google is understood to be marketing the entire launch under the ‘Made by Google’ name, even though HTC is the manufacturing partner.

Interestingly, HTC has manufactured its own fully fledged VR headset called the Vive.

The Daydream headsets’ operating system is understood to be an extension of Android.

The launch of the Pixel smartphones could see Google jettison the Nexus brand altogether.

Both the Pixel and the Pixel XL smartphones will also be running the latest version of Android Nougat, which comes with support for the Daydream VR platform.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years