Back at its I/O conference earlier this year, Google unveiled its own vision for a mobile VR reference platform called Daydream. That headset-and-remote concept wasn't actual hardware at the time, but the company has been hard at work since then transforming the idea into a product.
The Daydream View, unveiled during the #madeatgoogle event earlier today, takes a different approach from the gaggle of plastic goggles we've seen so far. Daydream View doesn't mess with the bones of the mobile VR experience, of course—this is still a pair of goggles that you slip a phone into. The major changes are ones of look and feel. Google wrapped the outside of the headset in what it describes as a "soft, breathable fabric," and the parts of the device that actually touch your face appear to be covered in a pleasant, lightweight mesh. We expect that society still has a long way to go before embracing folks who are "goggled in" out in public, but Daydream View at least looks fresh and unintimidating.
Daydream View also includes a small remote with two buttons and a touchpad. Though that interface appears simple, the remote also hides a bevy of motion-tracking hardware that lets users enjoy a taste of hand control in the vein of HTC's Vive. Google showed off the capabilities of this remote with a demo that puts players in the world of J.K. Rowling's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. That demo turned the remote into the obligatory wand one would expect to wield in the Harry Potter universe. The remote also lets users navigate Google Street View with an HTC Vive-like teleportation interface. When it's not in use, the remote stows inside the headset.
Daydream View will launch in the United States next month for $79, and it'll be available in red, silver, and dark-gray fabrics. Users will need a Daydream-ready phone to use the headset, and right now, only Google's own Pixel wears that badge. The company says many other Daydream-ready devices are on their way from its partners, however. As a bonus for pre-ordering a Pixel or Pixel XL, Google will be tossing in a Daydream VR headset for free.