Some of you may remember a feature that debuted in Android 4.2 – Jelly Bean back in October 2012, it was called “Daydream“. Sounds quite familiar now, right? The original Daydream feature was essentially a screen saver. It allowed you to have the clock show on the screen while it’s charging, instead of just a black screen. You could also show pictures, News & Weather, and a few other options. Sounds just like a screen saver you would see on your desktop or laptop. And now in Android N Developer Preview 3, Google has renamed it to “Screen Saver”. But one must wonder, why? Simple. Daydream has another purpose now.
At Google I/O, the search giant announced Daydream, which is their new virtual reality platform that is debuting with Android N. Daydream is the next step from Cardboard, which Google debuted two years ago at Google I/O 2014. Google has big plans for virtual reality with Daydream, including making many of their apps ready for virtual reality, which includes Google Photos, Street View and YouTube. Additionally, Google has made a list of required specs for smartphones that will be compatible with Daydream, which is debuting later this year. The first, and currently only, smartphone that is eligible to be a Daydream smartphone is the Nexus 6P. So that developers that want to develop for Daydream by creating apps and games, can get started developing apps and games for the platform ahead of launch. Google is also going to be launching their own Daydream hardware, so it makes sense to rename the Daydream screen saver feature in Android.
This change was more about avoiding confusion between the two features in Android N. Although, Daydream wasn’t a particularly popular feature in Android, but it is nice feature to use on your bed-side table. It’s still located in the same place, just renamed now. Android N is the latest version of Android which will be launching this fall. We don’t yet have a version number or an official name for Android N, but we should have that in a few months. Android N is going to be launching on some new Nexus hardware, which is typically how Google debuts new versions of Android.