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YOU ARE HERE News VR & 3D Software VR For Android N Phones is HERE and It's STUNNING

VR For Android N Phones is HERE and It's STUNNING

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Meet Daydream, Google’s solution for VR in Android - The Google I/O 2016 keynote is done and dusted. Google has confirmed some more details about Android N, a couple of new messaging applications and a brand new household assistant; one that can answer questions and play music and it's called Google Home.

Google Daydream was the highlight for many in attendance though, because it outlined Google’s vision for how VR will work inside its Android ecosystem. Daydream is the platform, which will be available inside new Android N phones (or at least ones made to its "Daydream Ready" spec requirements), but Google also debuted a new VR headset that picks up where Cardboard left off.

Unlike wearables, VR has the potential to be just as big a deal as smartphones were when they first arrived on the scene back in the day. VR has multiple uses across all forms of consumer technology and will slowly but surely begin to gain traction as more and more uses are communicated to consumers.

Gaming is the obvious one; this is why Sony is heavily invested in VR tech. But beyond this the benefits are huge for media-lovers and Google, being Google, wants to build a robust platform on which hardware partners can build devices. This is what it did with Android and now Google is looking to do the same with VR inside 2016/17.

“Worldwide shipments of Virtual Reality (VR) hardware will skyrocket in 2016,” says IDC, “with total volumes reaching 9.6 million units. Led by key products from Samsung, Sony, HTC, and Oculus, the category should generate hardware revenues of approximately $2.3 billion in 2016. While VR will drive nearly all of the hardware volume in 2016, Augmented Reality (AR) hardware is forecast to ramp up over the next few years. According to the first worldwide AR/VR forecast from International Data Corporation (IDC), the combined device markets will see hardware shipments surge past 110 million units in 2020.”

"In 2016, the first major VR Tethered HMDs from Oculus, HTC, and Sony should drive combined shipments of over 2 million units," said Tom Mainelli, vice president for Devices & Displays at IDC. "When you combine this with robust shipments of screenless viewers from Samsung and other vendors launching later this year, you start to see the beginning of a reasonable installed base for content creators to target."

"Video games will clearly be the lead rationale for people to pick up an Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or PlayStation VR this year," added Lewis Ward, research director of Gaming. "While there have been some launch window hardware shipment hiccups that must be addressed near-term, I'm confident that they will be ironed out before the holiday season. The addition of exciting new titles will lead to a new wave of VR HMD hardware interest among those buying for themselves or family members and friends."

Following on from the original reveal, as of May 20 Google has now confirmed it will be making its own Daydream VR hardware on top of the reference hardware it plans to make to be compatible with third party devices from Android OEMs - in other words, there will be a Nexus-style class of Daydream devices sold by Google as well as offerings from the likes of Samsung, LG, HTC and the rest.

Google's reference design includes a headset and a hand-held controller that will be used with compatible third party devices which fit the "Daydream Ready" reference spec, but Google will also build its own controller and headset that will be entirely independent of OEM hardware. So far there are no solid details about when we can expect this to appear, but November has been thrown around a bit by dev sources.

Here we’re going to be taking a look at Google Daydream; what it does; how it works; and how and when you can get access to it. Think of this as a primer for everything you need to know about Google’s first VR platform.

Right. Let’s do this.

Google Daydream: What’s It All About?

Daydream encompasses both software and hardware. It is a natural progression on from Google’s first foray into VR with Cardboard two years ago. Things have heated up a lot since then and Google is keen to make sure it is way out in front of this trend before it breaks -- something that is expected to happen between now and 2018.

Daydream will be powered by the next-generation of Android N phones that are due to launch in the next few months. In order for Daydream to work, the phones need a certain array of sensors and special screens. Samsung, HTC, LG, Xiaomi, Huawei, ZTE, Asus, and Alcatel will all make phones and hardware that support Daydream in 2016. As will Google’s Nexus 2016 phones.

Huawei was quick to confirm it will be pushing Daydream hard inside future products available later on in 2016. Below is a statement from the company on its plans for VR and Daydream inside 2016:

“Huawei is excited to be one of the first OEMs to support Daydream, Google’s platform for high performance mobile VR, deepening our collaboration with Google. Huawei looks forward to working with Google and other global industry leaders to build an ecosystem and bring rich and compelling Daydream experiences to users through transformative innovations in VR devices, applications and content.”

It added: “Huawei will introduce devices that enable Daydream experiences, integrating new Huawei Kirin and Qualcomm chipsets. Huawei will have Daydream-ready phones, headsets, and controllers to be announced by the end of 2016.”

These phones will then need to be placed inside a compatible VR Headset in a similar fashion to how Samsung’s GEAR VR works. Daydream is pure VR, though. As of now there are zero options for augmented reality. Google says the way it’s developed Daydream -- tying it to new Android N hardware -- will result in smoother performance and more immersive environments at the beginning and in the long run as well.

Google Daydream: How It Works

Android N will feature Android VR Mode hard-wired inside it. This will give phones access to content from a variety of sources, including stuff from Netflix and third-party developers, as well as gaming companies.

You will need a headset, obviously, but it is unclear how much a Google VR headset will actually cost. The setup itself, with a phone, is similar to Samsung’s GEAR VR and that retails for £99. In order to push the idea, though, Google will likely undercut Samsung’s pricing to get as many people as possible up and running from the get-go.

Daydream Controller

Google has also designed a hand-held controller for its VR experiences. This is a big step forwards too, as it is something that has been missing from a lot of early VR headsets. Samsung’s featured one, sure, but it did not come bundled with the headset, and tapping on the side of the actual headset unit while essentially blind isn’t exactly ideal.

The unit Google previewed is just a reference design, something for its hardware partners to use a basis. How Huawei and Samsung develop things further remains to be seen. Having a controller is a big USP, though, as it means easier interaction with VR environments in a more intuitive manner.

Google Daydream: What You Can Do With It

Once you’ve got the headset on your head and the phone inside it, you can access the ecosystem which includes special VR versions of YouTube, Street View, the Google Play Store, Play Movies, and Google Photos. Google also confirmed it has Netflix, Ubisoft and other big name players onboard as well, so expect some very interesting developments in this regard during the next few months.

Google Daydream: When Can You Use It?

Gaming. Netflix. Videos -- the possibilties are many. However, VR is still trying to find its feet and it is difficult to say what people will be using it for most in, say, 10 years. Or even two. At the moment, viewing media and gaming seems like the most obvious use for a VR headset.

What the future holds is in the hands of developers. Things change quickly once millions of people are involved. Just look how YouTube has changed in the past six years -- it’s pretty much unrecognisable now compared to when it first launched.

Google Daydream: Is It Any Good?

It looks like it has a lot of potential. But this is a Google creation, so it was always going to be decent. Having access to things like Google Play, Netflix and a fresh supply of content from players like Ubisoft, as well as support from the likes of Samsung, HTC, LG, Huawei and Xiaomi place Google in a very strong position for when this whole VR thing explodes.

Lack of content and shonky proprietary software has, so far, held back adoption en masse of VR technology. The GEAR VR has tons of potential, but the software and content available for it still felt very beta. The entry of Google, however, should remedy this situation quickly -- it has the power and influence to bring in big players and the right content. And this is what makes a platform great in the end: content and applications.

And because the system is tied to Android N performance shoud be excellent. Google is certainly convinced it will be. This is also likely the reason why more and more Android phones are being linked with 6GB of RAM -- power for things like VR, basically.

The actual VR space is still very much in its infancy though and it will take a good couple of years to mature. Still, an early push from Google with Daydream should work wonders for innovation in the space and pave the way for plenty of new forms of media and apps.

VR just got a lot more exciting. Google says you'll be able to get hold of Daydream in the fall -- or, Autumn for those of us that live in the UK. 

Source: http://google-daydream-vr-android-n-release-date-devices-features/