If you're unwilling to spend on virtual reality hardware like HTC Vive or Samsung's Gear VR or even the Oculus Rift, Google has made sure that you don't have to. The internet search giant launched Daydream VR at its ongoing I/O conference in Mountain View yesterday and effectively busted the myth that you will have to spend on standalone VR hardware if you need to enjoy the virtual reality experience.
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As per Google, Daydream VR will run on Android phones featuring a list of specifications as well as the Android N operating system. Google has already certified its flagship smartphone, the Nexus 6P, as the first phone to support Daydream, but the company has announced that phone makers like Samsung, HTC, LG, ASUS, Huawei, Xiaomi, ZTE and Alcatel will manufacture phones later this year which will be capable of supporting Daydream VR. HTC has reportedly bagged a three year contract from Google to manufacture Nexus phones, so its presence in the list comes as no surprise to us.
Even though Google hasn't disclosed the full list of specifications that smartphones must contain to run Daydream VR, the company disclosed that AMOLED screens are a must for such phones. AMOLED screens have faster response time and lower refresh rates than standalone VR headsets and as such, will negate that blurry feeling which may cause nausea among users. As far as content is concerned, Google will also launch a VR version of the Play Store as well as Play Movies which will let you buy and access dedicated VR content to watch on your smartphone. As per The Verge, Google is set to introduce a feature termed Android VR Mode which will let you access VR content and apps on your phone while using a headset which Google may launch this fall. In this mode, optimised apps may include YouTube VR, Street View and Google Photos as well as third party apps like Netflix, Electronic Arts and Ubisoft. It has also been reported that Hulu, HBO, Lionsgate and CNN will also tailor their apps to suit Daydream VR in the future.
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What's more, you will also be able to watch IMAX movies and documentaries via Daydream VR which is a first for virtual reality devices. The software will create a 'virtual IMAX theatre' in smartphones and will let you view original IMAX documentaries in 3D like Titans of the Ice Age, Earthflight, Hidden Universe and Journey to Space. Eventually, a large number of IMAX movies should also be available to stream on Daydream VR.
Huawei has already announced that it will create devices capable of supporting Daydream VR and with Android N just around the corner, we should expect a large number of phones with such capabilities by the time Google releases the commercial version of Daydream VR.