Starting this week, Google’s new Daydream View virtual reality headset is not available. The fabric encased lightweight plastic successor to the popular Google Cardboard initiative is a big improvement both in terms of equipment and virtual reality technology in general.
Google first debuted Cardboard in 2014, the CEO showcased a headset made of modest materials almost mocking the new-at-the-time Oculus Rift purchased Facebook announced only a short time before. Google’s virtual reality headset was made of materials costing around $10.00. Many people dismissed it as a toy compared to its competition but that initial device provided a ton of guidance for the Google Daydream which can easily become the new leader is casual mobile virtual reality.
The basic premise of the Google Daydream View is the same as before: all you have to do is slide a phone in and enjoy. Google’s approach was the only viable way to compete with the highly-advanced Rift. Middle ground in virtual reality is hard to succeed in since it is mostly dismissed. People who are interested are more likely to either buy the best-of-the-best or the one offering the greatest savings. Cardboard succeeded because it didn’t have to promise much and didn’t cost anything either.
The Daydream View is priced at around $80.00 which, while more expensive than Cardboard, is still $20.00 less than its closest competitor: the Samsung Gear VR. The Daydream View is still virtual reality’s most convenient way for people to jump on board. In Daydream View is easier to use than Cardboard because of the built-in head strap and bundled controller. Reviews even state that the Google headset works better than the Samsung equivalent.
Google has made a big deal about the Daydream View’s design. Its fabric exterior and single strap lightweight design make it much more “comfortable” for household use. It may still attract a stare or two but there is no denying their success in making the device seem more socially acceptable. All it takes is a quick flip of the front flap, tossing in any Daydream-compatible phone, and closing it back up. The screen alignment is done automatically.
The Daydream View has the potential to make a huge breakthrough in consumer virtual reality. Especially with the holiday season right around the corner, the device will appeal to a large number of people looking to enter the VR market. For a large number of users, the Daydream will be the first VR experience they will ever have tried and for these people, it surely will not disappoint.
The problem with the Oculus Rift is that it is too specialized, too expensive, and too demanding of resources. Overall, it lacks appeal to the masses. For gamers, the appeal will solely exist around the Playstation VR. For general users, however, I suspect the Daydream View has the potential to impress everyday mobile users in a way that nothing else out there currently can.
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