Google teased its Daydream VR plans earlier this year during its I/O conference, but now we finally have a good look at its virtual reality hardware and software.
The search giant announced its Daydream View headset at a press conference in San Francisco today. Daydream View relies on your phone to power the VR experience, so any phone that can run Google’s Daydream app will be able to use the headset. Of course, the just-announced Pixel and Pixel XL phones work perfectly with Daydream View.
Daydream View release date and price
Google Daydream View will be available in November for $79 in the US. That puts it at $20 less than the Samsung Gear VR. UK and AU pricing have not been announced yet.
Google is also running a promotion for those who purchase a Pixel phone. When you buy a Pixel via the Google Play store, you’ll receive a code good for one free Daydream View headset. The offer is only good while supplies last, and the code will expire after December 31.
What makes Daydream View unique is that it comes with a remote control that cleverly tucks into the headset when you’re not using it. The remote allows you to control your phone wirelessly and precisely for navigating menus, playing games and even walking around virtually in Google Street View.
Google says it made Daydream View out of cloth because that’s the type of material people actually wear on their bodies. Instead of hard plastic like competitors, Daydream View is covered in cloth and will be available in three colors: Snow, Slate and Crimson, though the latter two options won’t be available at launch.
Gaming and video are where Daydream View really come into play. The headset will allow users to access the entire YouTube catalog in VR. While non-VR videos will play “on a cinema-sized screen,” it’s 360-video that makes Daydream View compelling. For example, Google showed off a video of what it’s like to watch dinosaurs come to life inside a museum wearing the headset.
While a not a premium viewer like Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, Daydream View could carve out a solid following in the mobile VR space, especially since its price is so affordable.