Google Aims to Spread Virtual Reality With Cheap Daydream Headset

  • Daydream View, a mobile VR headset, priced below rival gadgets
  • Move challenges Facebook’s Oculus for dominance in field

Everything You Need to Know About Google's Pixel Event

Google released a virtual reality headset on Tuesday that’s cheaper than other options in the market.

During an event in San Francisco, the Alphabet Inc. unit introduced Daydream View, a headset and controller for viewing virtual reality media with a smartphone. At $79, the price is well below products from HTC Corp. and Facebook Inc.’s Oculus, which cost hundreds of dollars.

Google has had some success distributing its Cardboard device, an even cheaper VR viewer with fewer capabilities. The new headset will enable a broader range of VR experiences, like gaming and movies. The controller could also help match some of the features of higher-end VR devices. 

The launch coincides with the release of Daydream, software that Google hopes will replicate the far reach of its Android mobile operating system. By making its VR gadgets cheap, the company aims to get its system used by as many people as possible.

Still, the only phones that currently works with Daydream View are Google’s new Pixel devices, which were also released on Tuesday. Google had to meet certain hardware and software requirements, like display latency and heat dissipation, to operate VR on phones, Android chief Hiroshi Lockheimer told Bloomberg in a recent interview. More Android phones will be compatible with the viewer soon, according to the company

“The significance of Daydream is it should move the VR theme forward because it raises the hardware bar on phones needed for VR,” Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray, wrote in a research note. “In 3-5 years most Android hardware will be Daydream-enabled.”

(Corrects when Google’s Pixel phones were launched in fifth paragraph.)
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