At Google I/O today, Google and Qualcomm announced that they have collaborated together on a new Daydream headset. While Google already has a Daydream headset available in the form of the Daydream View, the difference with this one is that the new model does not need to be tethered to a smartphone, like the Daydream View. Likewise, it also does not need to be tethered to a computer, like most of the other virtual reality (VR) headsets that are currently available. This is a standalone Daydream VR headset.
With this being a collaborative effort between Google and Qualcomm, it will not be that surprising to learn that a Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC powers the headset. Although, what is worth noting is that the SoC in question is the latest Snapdragon 835 SoC. Building on the mobile VR roadmap started with the previous Daydream headsets and Daydream-ready smartphones which utilized the Snapdragon 821 SoC. Of course, with this being a standalone unit, this is a completely different end-to-end VR solution. With Google’s VR head, Clay Bavor, noting that the reference design unit will pave the way for “manufacturers to build a whole new category of VR devices.” In addition, with this being a standalone model, the VR headset includes all of the hardware needed to run, built right into the unit. There will be no need for any additional hardware, this will be a fully end-to-end Daydream experience in one product. With WorldSense and Tango-based technologies providing the backbone for the tracking features.
At the moment, there are no exact details on when the standalone VR headset will become available or how much it will cost. However, Bavor has confirmed that the “headsets will begin to hit shelves later this year”. So it does stand to reason that this unit should become available at, or just after, Google’s 2017 hardware event. The same situation occurred last year when Google announced the reference design for the then-new Daydream View headset at Google I/O 2016, followed by the announcement and arrival of the actual unit to consumers during Google’s Oct. 4 event. So it is highly likely October 2017 (or thereabouts) is when this Snapdragon 835-powered standalone Daydream VR headset will become available to buy.