Google outlines official requirements for Daydream-compatible devices

Google outlines official requirements for Daydream-compatible devices
Google's Daydream VR platform is finally here, and although the Google Pixel and Pixel XL are currently the only two phones on the market that are capable of running Daydream, that's going to change in the near future. Daydream is still in its infancy, but Google has already outlined the major requirements that future devices will need to meet in order to properly run the Daydream platform. 

This news comes by way of Google's latest update to the Android Compatibility Definition Document (CDD), and it paints a pretty clear picture as to what phones will be able to run Daydream and what phones will not. There's a lot of technical talk outlined in the documentation, such as how all phones must support sustained performance modes, Vulkan Hardware Level 0, H.264 decoding, etc. We could go over the specifics all day, but here are the main takeaways.

First of all, phones that want to run Daydream will need to feature screen sizes between 4.7-inches and 6-inches. Additionally, while the resolution is required to be at least 1080p Full HD, Google "strongly recommends" that it be Quad HD (1440p) or higher. Google doesn't exactly say that OLED panels are required for Daydream to work, but when considering the fact that OLED ones offer much lower latency levels than LCD, it's likely that OLED and AMOLED will be the only ones to officially make the cut.


In regards to processing specs, Qualcomm has already confirmed that only the Snapdragon 821 is capable of supporting the Daydream platform. This goes against ZTE's claims that the Axon 7 would be able to work with Daydream with the Snapdragon 820 CPU, but we're inclined to believe Qualcomm over ZTE in this matter. And, while both the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge support Vulkan 1.0, there hasn't been any mention that they will run Daydream.

So, if you want to be one of the first people to test out Daydream, what are your best bets? As it stands, the Pixel and Pixel XL still remain as the current go-to solutions. Asus's ZenFone 3 Deluxe with its Snapdragon 821 processor should also support Daydream, but its availability isn't quite as strong as that of the Pixel. In any case, now that these requirements are out on the table, it's likely that we'll see an influx in Daydream-ready phones starting sometime in early 2017.

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15 Comments

1. Tyrion_Lannister unregistered

There is no reason for Snapdragon 820 to not support daydream if the pixel and pixel XL do. The 821 in the pixel is clocked no faster than SD820. Not to mention the fact that phones like Oneplus 3 have better sustained performance than pixel or pixel XL.

2. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

I can't imagine it having issues especially if they want wide support, I think mostly it is simply because they are just putting down a milepost, "From here on out" more then saying "will only run on"

4. Tyrion_Lannister unregistered

If they want to do that kind of thing, they should do it after a major SoC update, not for a minor update. If they don't support SD820, it will be a really stupid move from Google's side.

9. sgodsell

Posts: 7423; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The GPU is faster on the SD 821, even if the SD 820 was clocked at the same speed. The SD 820 will heat up and throttle, whereas the SD 821 will sustain the speed needed for VR. Not to mention Daydream VR uses Vulkan graphics which is in Android Nougat. The other thing that was not mentioned at all, is the incredibly fast and accurate sensors needed for VR head tracking. The accelerometer and gyroscope found in the Pixels are not only used for its EIS with the camera, but is also used for the head tracking with Daydream VR.

10. Tyrion_Lannister unregistered

The GPU is not faster on the 821 used in the pixel. And phones like the oneplus 3 don't throttle at all. Nougat has no relation with SD820. At one point, all the 820 phones will get nougat. Still, no relation with SD820 since sensors depend on the phone. You are not making any sense. I am saying that a phone shouldn't be ruled out because it has 820 instead of 821. I am completely fine with the phone not supporting daydream if it lacks the sensors or vulkan support.

12. vincelongman

Posts: 5718; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

The 820 does support Daydream The ZTE said they've been working with Google to aprrove the Axon 7 for Daydream support They are still working on their Nougat update, which should include Daydream support I believe the main reason the OP3 doesnt yet support Daydream is because it doesnt have Nougat AFAIK Nougat is needed for VR Mode

13. Tyrion_Lannister unregistered

Nougat is needed I suppose. Well, OP3 doesn't look very sharp in regular usage, so I don't even need to see the horrors with VR. I have nougat on my OP3( CM 14.1). It's awesome. I honestly didn't expect it to be that much better than marshmallow, but it is. Smoothness and battery management is next level.

3. ebilcake

Posts: 1231; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

Oh well, guess I'll use my Oculus Rift instead. lulz

5. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Depending on the tracking ability, and if you can link wired, technically phones can be better then oculus rift because of higher resolution. If Oculus was smart, with more competition coming, they would modify their software so that you could use gear vr and daydream as well, direct supported, it still might not be as good or trouble free unit as the dedicated rift, but it could bring significantly more customers, those looking for VR 'lite' basically, and or maybe are fine with even lower settings then normal graphic wise, to handle vr. Right now VR's biggest problem is barrier to entry, price tag, and mobile vr is a bit isolated, mobile VR can get a LOT of the way there in terms of 'real' vr, instead of the bit hollow vr experience it has right now, if oculus embraced it. If anything it would be a win win, more people buy stuff on oculus store, more people interested in real vr and maybe wanting something better, after using their phone for playing for a while, but feeling limited by phone limitations.

6. Tyrion_Lannister unregistered

Rift and vive have 1080p*2 resolution. That's higher than QHD. Not to mention that all phones with QHD OLED are PenTile decreasing the chroma resolution further. Mobile VR is garbage since most phones can't manage an hour of gameplay without either throttling or draining the battery completely. And that's without taking into account the poor performance.

7. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Actually no, both HTC vive and Oculus rift have a combined resolution of 2160 x 1200 which is below the 2560x1440 that phone screens can offer, now yes, the phones cannot use the full resolution, because of the ways things work, so yes, there is a drop, but again, I say midrange vr. You are right mobile VR has its downsides, but it has an upside as well, and the performance isn't a problem, especially if you can tether it to a computer to do the performance for you, which is what I mean by supporting it, so 'technically' can be better was meant in the purest sense of the word, but it likely won't be better, and probably only be more suited for mid range vr, which is i think where the money is.

8. Tyrion_Lannister unregistered

If you connect it to a PC, it's not mobile VR anymore.

11. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Eh....if its a device focused around the mobile phone, I'd say its mobile vr, but true I suppose, my main point is though that this is somewhere where they could with moderate effort get a lot of customers.

14. ebilcake

Posts: 1231; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

I've tried Gear VR, still have one around here somewhere, there isn't much difference between the sharpness but the experience is definitely better on Oculus Rift despite your claims, maybe you should try them? Gear VR uses the Oculus store so I'm not sure what you mean by that, the choice of available applications is quite different though.

15. Technometry

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 10, 2016

*Sits back and pats self on back for being wise enough to buy Zenfone 3 Deluxe Special Edition*

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