Google reveals Daydream VR headset, an evolution of Cardboard

20 May 2016

How the new Daydream VR menu will look. Image via Google

There’s been more product announcements at Google’s I/O conference this week, with the reveal of its latest foray into the world of virtual reality (VR) with Daydream, a headset that hopes to be the next evolutionary step of Cardboard.

While Facebook and Oculus might be more concerned with producing high-end gaming and social VR headsets, Google continues to focus its efforts on a much smaller and cheaper scale, which seems to be the case again with Daydream.

During the company’s I/O reveal of the new headset, it showed, once again, a design that requires you to use your phone as the engine for the headset, which also allows you to track every movement of your head.

But, that may be where the similarities with the Cardboard device ends, as the Daydream appears to be less a means of giving the user a flavour of what VR is, and more like something closer to what the Oculus Rift can do.

Comfort appears to be more of a concern with the Daydream, with some extra padding here and there, but, more importantly, it will also come with a remote control – similar to the HTC Vive – that will include a trackpad and buttons, as well as some sensors to control objects in the VR space.

Daydream headset

Design o the Daydream headset. Image via Google

Will be a key feature of Android N

This will be Google’s first true VR headset device, given that the Cardboard was very much sold as a VR project for people at home to put together themselves, or pay someone else to do it for them.

Further evidence that Daydream will be a whole different kettle of fish is that Google will begin certifying Android phones as ‘Daydream ready’, as in, capable of handling such processing power, much like its work with Project Tango in the augmented reality (AR) space.

Android’s next operating software – called N for the moment – will have a noticeable new addition, with plans for a Daydream hub that will group VR apps on a new home screen, while creating VR versions of all of Google’s other apps.

Tapping further into potential financial success with Daydream, the company revealed it’s also in talks with a number of major content providers to partner with them on Daydream, including Netflix, Hulu and IMAX.

Google plans to begin shipping the Daydream headset sometime this autumn.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic