Say farewell to Google’s Daydream VR experiment

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Google has actually woken up from its Daydream.


James Martin/CNET

What started as a method for Google to contend versus Facebook’s high profile Oculus Rift virtual truth headset, Sony’s PlayStation VR and Samsung’s Gear VR pertained to an end Tuesday, when the search huge confessed its Daydream VR program wasn’t popular amongst customers and would be ending.

Google’s initial vision for Daydream was to let individuals take high-end phones like its Pixel line and pop them into reasonably low-cost headsets. The phone screens would then be so near to individuals’s eyes that in mix with VR apps, they’d fool these individuals’s brains into thinking they remained in the computer-generated world. And the phone’s processing chips would power the experience.

The result would imply individuals who currently own costly phones might pay less than $100 for a VR headset.

“We saw a lot of potential in smartphone VR — being able to use the smartphone you carry with you everywhere to power an immersive on-the-go experience,” Google stated in a declaration previously reported by VentureBeat. But in time we saw some clear constraints constraining mobile phone VR from being a feasible long-lasting service.”


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Google’s choice to discontinue its Daydream headsets effectively marks an unceremonious end for smartphone-powered VR headsets. Though the idea behind turning a phone into a VR headset made sense, and offered a cheap way for consumers to have their first experience with the technology, it just didn’t catch on.

It wasn’t for lack of trying though. Samsung as well was offering its Gear VR headset at the time, offering a similar experience that was powered by Facebook’s Oculus software and app store. Google also had its Cardboard headset, built with low-cost lenses and, yup, folded cardboard, making it a popular marketing tool and part of corporate goodie bags. Even The New York Times gave away more than a million Google Cardboard headsets to subscribers in 2015 and 2016.

Not all low-cost VR is gone though. Google says its existing Daydream headsets will continue to work with older phones if you have them, and on its site Google still offers instructions on how to make a Cardboard viewer. Facebook also offers a low-power version of its headsets, called Oculus Go, for $199.

As for the future, Google said it plans to focus efforts on emerging augmented reality technology, which overlays computer images on the real world. It already offers AR navigation tools for its Google Maps, as well as real-time print translation tools and other features for its Google Lens service.

CNET’s Richard Nieva contributed to this report.

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