Google Unveils Daydream View VR Headset, Controller

Taking a bigger step into the world of virtual reality, Google introduced the Daydream View VR headset and controller, a pairing that will go on sale in November for $79.

Powered by Android, Daydream View must be paired with a compatible smartphone. Google’s new Pixel smartphone, also announced Tuesday, is the first announced Daydream-ready smartphone. 

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Daydream View, introduced Tuesday amid a flurry of hardware/software product announcements from Google, will be competing in the sector against other mobile-based VR platforms such as Samsung’s Oculus-powered Gear VR. Google announced the Daydream VR initiative in May.

Clay Bavor, who heads Google’s VR team, said Daydream will be underpinned by an integrated content ecosystem and a headset that is focused on comfort.

Notably, the Daydream View is crafted out of soft microfibers and other materials that are found in clothing and athletic wear, he said, claiming that the new headset will be 30% lighter than similar devices and fit over a person’s eyeglasses.  The Daydream View is initially offered in Slate, with Snow and Crimson versions coming later.

The Daydream View controller features a clickable touchpad and two buttons, and is outfitted with sensors designed to respond as the user swipes and aims.

On the content end, Daydream View will be booting up with some exclusive fare, including a VR experience from Warner Bros. based on J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Adrienne McCallister, director of partnerships for Daydream, said more than 50 partners are on board to bring apps and games to the platform before the end of the year, with “hundreds” more on the way. HBO, Netflix and Hulu are among the initial announced content partners for Daydream.

Google will also integrate some of its own apps and services for Daydream, including Google Play Movies, Google Photos, Google Street View and YouTube.

Pixel, the first Daydream-ready smartphone, is also the first smartphone to build-in Google Assistant, the company’s voice-based AI platform.

Pixel, which features a 12.3 megapixel camera, HDR+ and a video stabilization component, starts at $649 or $27 per month, with preorders starting today, with Verizon on board with the U.S. exclusive.  Consumers can also buy an unlocked Pixel at the Google Store.

Watch this promo video about Daydream View: