Unlike the existing Daydream holster, which is just a felt-covered, head-mounted container for smartphones, the standalone Daydream headsets have "everything built right in: no cables, no phone, certainly no big PC", as Google VP for VR Clay Bavor said on stage. Google says new tools will encourage sharing of photos that you might have meant to share - but forgot.
According to IDC, global shipments of VR and AR headsets will increase from 10 million units in 2016 to almost 100 million in 2021.
Google's standalone Daydream headsets will also feature what Bavor called "dramatically improved tracking" thanks to technology called Worldsense. WorldSense enables positional tracking, meaning the headset tracks your precise movements in space - and it does this all without any external sensors to install.
The next evolution of VR tech will look to free the headsets from separate hardware.
Users of the critically acclaimed Samsung Galaxy S8 will now be able to use the flagship smartphone with Google's Daydream headset, even though Samsung has its own smartphone-powered VR wearable in the form of the Gear VR, now in its second generation. The current collaboration would develop a standalone Daydream VR headset reference design to build more such products. It suggested their advent will break down the barriers between the real and digital worlds, enabling greater efficiency in day-to-day tasks. The next phone with Tango technology will be the ASUS ZenFone AR, available this summer. VPS works today in partner museums and select Lowe's stores. The company promised to share more details later in the year.
"We're already at a point where millions of people are beginning to enjoy some of what these new developments can offer, but it's early days", he said, using a phrase popular with Google executives trying to rein in expectations.
One of the big reasons for this is that OLED displays are needed in order to meet Google's display performance requirements for Daydream. While it has largely tried to deliver on the content bit, the devices have been lacking, mostly. Hope to see you there.