While Microsoft is competing with Oculus Rift and HTC Vive on the PC with the first VR headsets for Windows 10, Google is still working with Daydream (Test) on an alternative to Android, which is expected to produce the first self-sufficient headsets by the end of 2017 , New tools will attract app developers.
Because not only on the PC decide besides the hardware also the available programs about the success and failure of a VR offer, on the smartphone is exactly the same. And despite the promising approach with public APIs and the possibility for partners to offer their own VR frames for smartphones, the equation is not yet available for Daydream.
New Daydream Elements and a Performance HUD
As part of the Daydream Elements development program already released on Google’s I / O 2017 in May, Google has now provided widely accessible code that includes basic features such as teleportation, object manipulation in the virtual world, and menus. Also, the tunneling used in Google Earth VR, which is supposed to prevent motion sickness by showing a fixed reference frame in movements, is one of them.
The performance HUD, which is less visible to the end user but is more important to developers, includes the performance HUD, which provides real-time information about the framerate, memory utilization or the distance to the critical SoC temperature, but in which the power has to be throttled.
In addition, InstantPreview allows the programmer to keep track of their work in the virtual environment live on a smartphone connected via WLAN or USB. Under macOS, Apple’s API Metal is now available, which should allow a much smoother work.
Only nine smartphones support Daydream
At the end of last year, the Google Pixel and the Pixel XL (test) were still the only smartphone with support for Google Daydream, the official list has now grown to nine devices. By the end of the year there should be eleven models.
Google pixel and pixel XL
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 +
Motorola Moto Z and Moto Z Force
Huawei Mate 9 Pro
Huawei Mate 9 Porsche Design
ZTE Axon 7
A mass phenomenon is Daydream with the exclusive availability on expensive top models with it but also one year after the start not yet. The background is also the high requirements that Google places on the hardware.
Hardware requirements for smartphones
Daydream requires Android 7.1. In addition, a smartphone must resolve at least with Full HD, but Google strongly recommends the use of QHD. The display diagonal must be between 4.7 and 6.0 inches, the refresh rate should be at least 60 Hz. In addition, the panel needs to change from gray to gray, from black to white, and from white to black in under 3 ms. Pixels should not emit light longer than 5 ms in low persistence mode to prevent motion blur.
In order to be able to accurately track the movements of the head via the smartphone at any time, sensors that meet the requirements of high – resolution sensors for acceleration, position and compass with Android 6.0 are required – in addition to the sampling rate and the accuracy maximum allowed power consumption.
To CPU and GPU, Google demands the requirement to permanently provide 60 FPS in VR mode – new GPUs could also help with the Asynchronous Reprojection implemented in the SDK for Daydream. OpenGL ES must be supported in version 3.2 and Vulkan with hardware level 0 – but the SDK is not yet ready for volcano.
Autonomous Daydream headsets at the end of the year
Lenovo and HTC Vive will launch the first self-sufficient Daydream headsets with an integrated SoC and display based on a reference platform from Qualcomm at the end of the year. They will be able to determine their position in six free-range straights using additional cameras, such as Microsoft’s platform, without having to rely on the connection to a computer.