During the announcement of Daydream VR for Android, Google stated that it had created a reference design for manufactures to model VR headsets around in order for the devices to meet the minimum specification. In addition to third-party companies creating Daydream headsets, Google will also be releasing its own first-party device.
Google have created a framework in which manufactures can leverage its own hardware, similar to the approach taken with Android Auto. This keeps the user experience consistent by ensuring the hardware meets a specific baseline, but offers variety in the actual hardware used to provide the aesthetic uniqueness across Android. Multiple manufactures, including the likes of HTC and Samsung, have already committed to releasing early Daydream devices and partnerships are already being formed to bring VR content to the platform.
Clay Bavor, Vice President of Virtual Reality at Google, said on stage:
“It’s exciting to think about where we’ll be in the near future with Daydream. By the end of this year there will be multiple Daydream Ready phones out on the market – and I hope your next phone is one of them. The first Daydream Ready headsets and controllers will be rolling out from the reference design; and by the way it’s not just going to be partners building from the reference design. We, Google, are also going to build a controller and a headset and make them available.”
Judging by Bavor’s comments, it appears Google will be focusing on helping third-parties get their hardware based on the reference designs out of the door ready for the estimated late 2016 launch, but will certainly be releasing its own Daydream headset, much like the company has done with the Nexus lineup for that truly vanilla experience.
The release of Daydream VR for Android has certainly paved the way for virtual reality on smartphones and will hopefully create the ecosystem required to see immersive VR content thrive, while at the same time making it accessible to the masses.