Google believes in virtual reality more than anyone else at this point, and the company is taking things into its own hands with the new Daydream initiative. Daydream will encompass three areas, which includes creating a reference design for VR headsets to share with partners.
There was little shared about the reference design for Daydream, although it seems to be based on the Google Cardboard headset. Instead, Google shared more about the controller for VR; which is also part of the reference design. Google’s vision for a VR controller takes the form of a tiny remote control with a clickable touchpad. The controller is also equipped with orientation sensors to it always knows where it happens to be pointing.
Accompanying this reference design is a set of smartphone specifications for virtual reality. These devices will be judged on the accuracy of their sensors and response times of displays, and those that meet the requirements will be deemed Daydream ready. To help device manufacturers along, Google is also building a VR Mode into Android N. This core feature of the upcoming operating system will make it easier for smartphones to be judged Daydream ready, by implementing improvements that reduce display latency to below 20ms.
Finally, Google will be introducing Google Play for VR. It is effectively Google Play as viewed in a VR environment. The Daydream home functions as a hub for VR apps, which makes it easier for users to search for, and discover, these apps.
Google revealed that it is working with a range of partners to get more VR apps going, including HBO, iMAX, Ubisoft, and Electronic Arts. Curiously, the Wall Street Journal and CNN were also highlighted as having upcoming apps for providing news in VR.
Google is also bringing more of its own apps to Daydream. Google Play movies, Street View, and Google Photos will support VR if they do not already do so. More importantly, the company says that it has rebuilt Youtube from the ground up for VR; which includes adding spatial audio to provide a more immersive experience. Although this was introduced a while back.
Most of Daydream will be making an apperance at some time in the fall, when Google partners begin to roll out their new devices running on Android N. There is no telling how long it will take manufacturers to begin building VR headsets based on the Daydream reference design.