We were very curious to see Google’s next steps in the VR market after the initial release of Google Cardboard in 2014. With more than 10 million Cardboards shipped, it was an interesting concept towards mobile VR and provided the first VR experience for many of us. Aside from that, it also left most people a bit disappointed (and motion sick) as it obviously is not able to provide the quality VR experience that leaves people coming back for more.
Daydream is the next iteration in Google’s VR roadmap to tackle the biggest shortcomings of Cardboard. It is built into Android 7.0 Nougat and provides a platform with software and hardware specifications for manufacturers to create Daydream-ready phones. These phones can then be used together with the Daydream viewer and controller to provide a more practical and immersive VR experience.
With built-in Daydream support in both Unity and Unreal, some ready made assets and an eager developer hungry for new tech, we were able to build a proof-of-concept in one day. The result is an architectural demo made in Unity that let’s you navigate through the environment and personalize your flooring using a Daydream controller.
Currently our first impressions are very positive. In our opinion the controller is the greatest addition to the Daydream platform. Standard specifications, improved sensors, better and bigger screens are great, but if you don’t have an interesting and intuitive way to interact with the virtual world, VR gets boring pretty fast. It was something that we always found lacking on other mobile VR headsets like Gear VR or Cardboard. The Daydream 3-axis controller is definitely a good step in the right direction and we are curious to see how mobile VR will evolve in the future. Samsung just announced a controller of their own, so it seems that things are still moving fast in the VR market.