If you hadn’t had your Google Pixel fill yet, here’s one more. While Microsoft made a big noise when it “pre-launched” it’s Windows Mixed Reality ecosystem, Google’s stage time with its new AR and VR platforms was relatively low key. And yet, for those who truly believe that smartphone-based AR and VR are the way forward, the new Daydream View headset offers a much needed improvement in terms of comfort and design.
It was admittedly odd that Google chose to use fabrics as the outer cover of its first gen Daydream View VR headsets. That hasn’t changed in version 2, but Google did switch to a smoother material that also offered a bit more texture. Together with the redesigned mask, the Daydream View 2 is promised to be both more comfortable to wear for longer periods and look spiffy as well.
The changes aren’t purely aesthetic, however. The new Daydream View now uses a heatsink hidden inside the front cover. This should help dissipate heat better, since that is one of the biggest problems when using your phone in VR. Because of that, the controller no longer sits inside front cover when not in use.
Speaking of the controller, these now come in colors that match the headsets. That means you could get an orange controller if you so wish. There are now three colors available, including dark gray Charcoal, light gray Fog, and orange/pink Coral. Exact availability dates have not yet been announced, but the new Daydream View headsets now cost $99 rather than last gen’s $79.
Sadly, Google doesn’t have much in the way of augmented reality other than a new set of content ranging from stickers to a Stranger Things tie-in. There are also preview experiences using Google’s new ARCore API, though curiously no mention of Tango. All in all, however, Google’s AR and VR thrust seems to still be confined within entertainment use cases, in contrast to how Microsoft is pitching is Mixed Reality as a more general purpose computing experience.