At the very end of Google's developer conference in 2014, the company revealed a quirky new product called Google Cardboard. While Oculus was pretty much the raging name in the world of virtual reality, Cardboard gave it a new dimension.
The product was actually a VR headset made by cardboard to give users a basic experience of virtual reality in an affordable manner.
On Tuesday, Google revealed another headset called DayDream view. The $79 handset follows the specification of the Daydream project along with promising content partnership.
A lot of people are already intrigued about the product because this will give them a superior experience than the Cardboard. And finally, there is a worthy competitor to Samsung's Gear VR.
Samsung's Gear VR was also announced in 2014 with Note 4. The company partnered with Oculus to make the VR headset and have content onboard as well. While the device itself is very promising, it just runs on the selected high-end Samsung handsets.
In 2015, the consumer version of Gear VR was released at $99. The price was very lucrative and there was enough content to lure the Samsung users. While there are a lot of flagship Samsung device users in the world a big chunk of the market was untapped. Samsung has tried to innovate a lot with VR headset providing better control and USB C support as well.
Google's Daydream project wants to tackle multiple challenges in the VR world. First is device compatibility, second is the headset itself, and last but not the least, the content. Originally the project which was announced at Google IO gave an outline to the device manufacturers on how they can make a Daydream compatible smartphone.
"We wanted to make sure that there wasn't just a single take on a VR device.But rather we could enable hardware manufacturers, smartphone manufacturers across the Android ecosystem and a variety of developers to get into it," Clay Bavor the VP of VR at Google told Buzzfeed.
On Tuesday, along with releasing the Pixel smartphones which are the first Daydream compatible phones, it showed how can one make a good VR headset.
From 2014 till now, there have been a lot of iterations of Google cardboard. There was OnePlus' Loop VR, Lenovo's Ant VR and quite recently Gionee VR as well. But most of these solutions were better builds of Google cardboard by adding little to the content factor. Sure, a lot of them were more comfortable in usage but after a few minutes of usage, the boredom was imminent.
Google took care of comfort by using a fabricated design and made sure that the headset looks great and is not just a box on the head.
"Daydream is this notion of making virtual reality accessible and approachable and bringing it to vastly more people," Bavor says.
Secondly, it included a controller to give more freedom and action to the users. So they don't have to find that one button on the headset to perform an action. And the VR headset can hold the controller once the user is done with a session.
The company has included auto alignment and handset detection so unlike Cardboard you don't have to adjust the VR in awkward poses. And the user doesn't even have to do anything apart from putting the phone in the headset to get started.
And mind you, this is a reference design for Daydream VR. Other manufacturers can follow the suit and make better VR headsets with much-advanced controllers.
Clearly, Google is trying to make this a mass product. It also roped it the mega-popular Harry Potter into the content foray by including a special experience of Magical Beasts And Where To Find Them.
There is a lot more to explore in terms of experience and content in handsets such as Oculus Rift, Playstation VR, and HTC Vive but not everyone would have the capital to invest in those.
While Daydream View is affordable, the presentation and the design makes you feel like it's an Apple product. From the line of devices such as Google home, Google Wifi and Daydream View it seems that the company is maturing from its geeky image as it turned 18.