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Google finally satisfies all rumors and speculation about its latest development in virtual reality. Going very serious about VR, the California tech giant has announced Daydream, a VR platform deeply integrated into Android N. Google made the announcement during its annual I/O conference keynote. Daydream will be a VR platform for capable mobile phones, VR viewers, and motion controllers, taking mobile VR into uncharted territory.

Daydream is a more sophisticated successor to the Cardboard. This new VR program has a comprehensive approach to both hardware and software, which sets it apart from the cheap tricks offered by Cardboard. It’s a mobile VR system powered by the next wave of Android N devices, in which capable devices are made to company-set standards. Unlike Cardboard which is greatly supported across almost any device, Daydream will only work on new phones that are equipped with specific components, such as special sensors and screens. Google doesn’t indicate the integration of Project Tango features including augmented reality; however, Daydream assures that its users can expect a smoother, low-latency mobile VR experience with specific hardware, which is different than what is expected on a VR experience brought by a simple software update.
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Google is also including a so-called Android VR Mode right into Android N, which is intended to bring an improved mobile VR experience for capable hardware. Android VR Mode includes a series of optimizations that will improve apps’ performance. Not only it provides a boost in performance, it also lets the user to browse and explore content in a virtual environment. A Daydream home screen will let people access apps and content while using the headset. Inside this environment, Google has developed special VR versions of its most popular apps. These apps include YouTube, Street View, the Google Play Store, Play Movies, and Google Photos. It’s also recruited a number of outside media companies to bring apps to Daydream, including streaming platforms like Netflix and gaming companies like Ubisoft and Electronic Arts.

Google has announced eight hardware partners that will make Daydream-ready phones, including Samsung, HTC, LG, Xiaomi, Huawei, ZTE, Asus, and Alcatel.

While the phone will provide the screen and computing power for Daydream, users will also need a version of Google’s new VR headset and controller, which the company is showing a reference design for at I/O. As of this writing, there are no specific details more than the basic rendering design showed during the keynote. One thing to be expected, though, is that Daydream is seen to conform with a similar open-source standard as Cardboard, with companies building their own versions of the Daydream headset and controller based on its “comfortable and intuitive” design language.

There are no announced pricing yet for the portfolio of devices for Google Daydream – however, we will be updating this article to include pricing and availability once the info comes right in.

For more information on Daydream, please visit the following websites:

https://www.google.com/daydream
http://www.wired.com/2016/05/android-vr-daydream-googles-plan/
http://venturebeat.com/2016/05/21/epic-games-explains-why-its-backing-google-daydream-vr/

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