Google's Pixel 4 seals the fate of the company's VR platform once and for all

Google's Pixel 4 seals the fate of the company's VR platform once and for all
Now that the Pixel 4 and 4 XL smartphones are finally out, alongside a second-gen diminutive smart speaker with a new name, a pair of AirPods-rivaling true wireless earbuds, an interesting cross between a Wi-Fi router and a smart speaker, as well as a relatively affordable and powerful Chromebook, it's time to talk about what Google didn't announce at its big hardware event yesterday.

While there were no shocking omissions, the mythical Pixel Watch certainly deserves a mention... for going unmentioned yet again, and to a lesser extent, it's worth highlighting that there was no movement on the Daydream release front for the second year in a row. No new hardware, no software update, and worst of all, the existing Daydream View headset is "no longer available" from Google's official e-store.

For those who may not remember, as well as those who never paid much attention to the project, this was the second edition of a fairly rudimentary device designed to use the screen and processing power of compatible Android smartphones to enable immersive virtual reality experiences. Unfortunately for Google (and Samsung), this execution of the otherwise exciting VR concept never took off, which made the death of the Daydream platform entirely predictable.

All the signs were there, and now everything's etched in stone, as the search giant has confirmed to VentureBeat it has no further plans to sell the Daydream View and the VR platform isn't even supported on the Pixel 4 handset duo. The same actually goes for the Pixel 3a and 3a XL, but until today, it wasn't clear if that lack of support was owed to Google's decision to abandon its virtual reality play or the somewhat modest specifications of the two mid-range phones.

Big G's move brings to memory what Samsung did with the very similar Gear VR project not that long ago, so it's probably safe to say smartphone-tethered VR is altogether dead. For what it's worth, the Daydream app and store will apparently "remain available for existing users", at least for the time being.



1. midan

Posts: 3097; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

Not surprising at all, Mobile VR was DOA

7. sgodsell

Posts: 7514; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Personally VR is great. However Google's own Cardboard project tainted the experience for the improved VR, like Daydream which came afterwards. Most users thought cardboard or Daydream did the same things. You could even buy a $20 Cardboard headset to check out VR. Daydream was the first mobile VR platform to make a 3 degrees of freedom controller a mandatory feature for all the Daydream apps. Daydream came out on the first Pixel, which was also the first Android device to use the SD 821. Now Google didn't continue to improve Daydream after that, well not very much. They should have included dual controllers, and included cameras as well. So 6 degrees of freedom controllers and headset would follow. Lenovo's Mirage Solo was cool, and it was a 6 degrees of freedom VR headset with cameras. However it came with a single 3 degrees of freedom controller. With cameras then the next step is to hand tracking, and then AR. I look at Oculus and their new Quest VR headset. It's 6 degrees of freedom, and they include two 6 dof controllers as well for a standalone VR experience for $400 USD. I hope Google makes a dual AR/VR headset in the future. Because VR can do lots of things that AR cannot do, and vise versa.

3. toukale

Posts: 662; Member since: Jun 10, 2015

The year is 2016, Facebook introduced their chatbots to the world. A few months before that Samsung did the same with its gear VR. Later that year we got "Project Ara" and "Daydream." Slowly a narrative began to take shape in some corners of tweeterverse, which made its way to the blogs, youtube and eventually the rest of the media picked up on it. The narrative was this, the company in Cupertino was boring, not innovative and simply staring at the same fate as BB. That narrative went around for months and it costs said company a ton of money, while those who were champion as innovative were rewarded as well in the form of their stock prices going up. As a user of technology, I was mystified/puzzled even by all this I could not see it. "What is happening? why can't I see? What am I missing?" I became frustrated by my inability to understand the herd. Today, I decided to go back and review all those innovative products and ideas people and companies championed back then and affected company stocks in the billions. What I learned is simple and John Wooden said it best, "Never mistake activity for achievement."

4. dvlprr

Posts: 70; Member since: May 08, 2019

Thank you.

5. TBomb

Posts: 1632; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

If Appple made one it would have been popular. Even if the world didn't want it/wasn't ready, everyone else's efforts would still be alive

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