VR: Daydream Could Be The Best Platform, But It Still Lacks Device Compatibility

There's lots of exciting stuff happening in VR right now, from Facebook's new version of their 360-degree camera to HTC expanding the usability of the Vive with the new Viveport SDK which brings new features, not to mention HTC's new PC and GPU bundles that come with the Vive headset. All that aside, a platform like Daydream could be the best available from a majority consumer standpoint as apps and games comes straight from the Play Store, which should make access to things rather easy, and the headset is affordable. The only downside is device compatibility. While there are a few more devices which now have compatibility, like the Mate 9 Pro and the AXON 7, the device list is still small, which leaves little room for an entry point for most customers.

At current there's a total of nine phones which support the platform and most of those are just variants of one device. You have the Google Pixel and Pixel XL, the Huawei Mate 9 Pro and Mate 9 Porsche Design, the ASUS ZenFone AR, the ZTE AXON 7, and three versions of the Moto Z which are the Moto Z, the Moto Z Droid, and the Moto Z Force Droid. More phones will certainly come out in the future that support the platform so long as Google keeps developing and advancing Daydream, but for now the compatibility feels limited and until more phones are available which can use the technology it might be harder for Daydream to reach mainstream adoption.

Of course, as it's been stated before the content list needs to be there to enjoy the platform, but the platform also can't be enjoyed if there aren't enough devices to use along with it. Google's reasoning for limiting the Daydream platform to most of these newer phones is due to the hardware requirements, but if Samsung can make it work with the Gear VR and an older device like the Galaxy Note 4, so too should Google be able to do so with the Daydream VR platform and devices that are powered by the same kind of hardware as the Galaxy Note 4. Unfortunately that isn't the case, although it would certainly be beneficial to Daydream ad Google if the only requirement for compatibility was Android Nougat, because then plenty of devices that will be updated to Nougat throughout the year would be able to work with a Daydream View headset.

Of course one way to help the compatibility would be to lower the entry cost of compatible devices, like the Pixel and Pixel XL. Both of these devices are fairly expensive for those that might be interested in jumping into virtual reality, the Daydream View costs a mere $75 and has even been less through a sale or two. The Pixel and Pixel XL on the other hand cost $649 as a starting point, which is more than many consumers may be willing to spend on a new phone just to have compatibility with Google's VR headset and platform.

It doesn't help that some of this year's new phones aren't compatible with the platform either, like the LG G6 and the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, all three of which have the specs and necessary hardware, save for the LG G6 display which doesn't use an OLED panel, and is likely the biggest reason why it isn't Daydream-ready. These three new phones are all flagships and many consumers will be looking to upgrade to them for their new device, so they wouldn't just be purchasing them to get support for Daydream. However, if Daydream support was available for any of these phones it would be a nice little bonus for the users who purchased the devices. For now, people are limited to the options that were listed in the beginning of this post, and hopefully more Daydream-ready devices will make their way to market throughout the year.

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Justin Diaz

News Editor
Justin has written for Android Headlines since 2012 and currently adopts a Editor role with a specific focus on mobile gaming and game-streaming services. Prior to the move to Android Headlines Justin spent almost eight years working directly within the wireless industry. Contact him at [email protected]