Is Google Daydream Set to Dominate the Mobile VR Market?
Last May 2016, Google announced it's long awaited update to the Google Cardboard platform which has been in the forefront of mobile VR application since it was first released in 2014. This new platform is known as Google Daydream and it is way way beyond what Cardboard can deliver.
The Cardboard was developed as a low-cost introductory system to the VR mobile market and was built into compatible mobile apps instead of being integrated into the devices operating system. Thus, any headset (aside from Cardboard) that can accommodate a mobile phone that can run the applications can be considered under the Cardboard platform.
The Daydream however takes a different approach in that the VR platform is built right into the Android 7.1 operating system used by the phone. Thus, only specific compatible phones will be able to work and fit into the Daydream headset and would be fully compatible with the platform and it's apps. This has been done to insure that the phones used have the advanced processing capabilities for the very smooth displays, crisp graphics and advanced sensors to run the Daydream specific apps and deliver the high VR quality which the platform has today.
To begin with, the Google Daydream View Headset is a work in it's own. It is probably the most advanced mobile VR HMD in the market today. It outclasses the other current mobile headsets in it's simplicity, comfort ability, weight and balance, compactness, set-up and controls. It looks like Google really took their time to study the pros and cons of the current array of mobile HMD's to improve upon and integrate into it's own.
The HMD is made of thick cloth that is comfortable to stick and strap to your face. The lenses are well protected because of the design and the specific compatible phones fit very well if not perfectly to the front of the headset. Even the straps use plastic slides instead of Velcro to comfortably accommodate users with different head sizes not to mention that it can be used for hours at a time without the usual irritation from using the other headsets.
An advanced feature of the Daydream headset is the nifty Bluetooth motion controller that comes with it. The controller has it's own touchpad and control buttons and syncs up with the phone upon launch into VR mode. It's easy to use and acts like a laser pointer that can interact with the virtual world by waving it around and pressing the buttons and pad. The home button is very useful as it brings you back to center position in VR, a feature innovatively implemented by Google.
Despite all it's advantages, Google Daydream is still far from perfect and has some issues to address. The phones tend to overheat though no decrease in performance was observed. Still, it would be good if something could be done with the heat as it posses some irritation to the user. Also, the headset's Field of View is limited to only 90 degs as compared to it's closest rival the Gear VR which has around 100 degs for this. High-end HMD's sport around 110 degs leaving the Daydream a little behind in this respect. To this, Google has just released an upgraded version of the headset this year that addresses the FOV problem and other shortcomings as well.
Here are few examples of what you can do with the Google Daydream platform.
View Video and Movies on a virtual big screen. Services like Netflix and HBO as well as You Tube are available for access in VR mode. You can watch regular video or full 360 deg when available.
Watch concerts as if you are actually there, Feel what’s it like to be in the first row and view the performance on stage as realistically as possible. Look around and see all that crowd with you.
Watch sports events just like you watch concerts as if your actually there. See the sports event taking place up close like watching a real boxing match of Manny Pacquiao and holler like everyone around you. Take of the headset to see that you're really all alone by yourself and look really stupid.
Travel to different places not readily or still impossible to access by current means. Travel to space and experience a virtual representation of it. Walk on the Moon or Mars as currently envisioned by todays technology. Travel to the deep of the sea and experience being eaten by Jaws yet find yourself still very much alive and in one piece in your chair, your room or wherever you are.
Watch porn very up close and personal. It's just a VR or interactive movie but make sure to keep it away from kids, the underage, your elders and the clergy. VR app company Badoink who develops these kind of apps predict it to be the killer mobile VR app of the future. Oh my...
If you don't like porn, you can always watch a horror movie very up close and personal. A great thing to do if you're fed up with life and want to experience a heart attack bigtime. Interactive scary stories in VR are guaranteed to give you just the right bone jerking scare to make you pull off the headset in horror or disgust ...whatever. People Love it anyway.
Virtual tourism and education apps can provide you with the experience of visiting tourist spots like the Taj Mahal or the crater of the Mayon Volcano or the top of Mt. Everest as well as historical experiences like being shot in the middle of the American Civil War or getting your head guillotined because they mistook you for the queen of Austria.
Finally the best of the lot. Play your games in VR. The technology provides a gaming experience like no other because your just there right smack in the middle of the game. The Google Daydream can deliver VR gaming that can actually rival that which the main HMD's deliver and at a fraction of the actual price. The current best VR game selection for the Daydream are of high quality and can deliver lengthy immersive experiences as good as or better in many ways than it's current closest competition, the Gear VR.
As of now, tech-wise, the Gear VR and it's platform is the closest thing to competition that the Google Daydream VR has. The Gear has been around for some time and has the number of available applications to boot and the games for this system are really good. However, the recent release of the Daydream platform and it’s awesome headset has now shifted the favor in Googles court. Daydream also has a wider selection of Daydream compatible newer phones from manufacturers such as Motorola, Asus, Huawei and others not to mention Goggle’s own Pixel and Pixel XL smart phones as Gear VR is limited to the high-end phones of Samsung.
So, as to Google Daydream having the dominance over the mobile VR industry, it sure looks that it's heading that way. However, it's still to early to tell as the Daydream has only been out for a year and the number of apps are just taking off. Besides, chances are, Oculus, Samsung and Gear VR will probably soon come up with their answer to Google’s new champion. Nevertheless, if you still don't have a Gear VR and your planning on getting into high-end mobile VR, at this point it would be a good suggestion to go for Google.