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What's inside Google's new Daydream virtual reality headset

It really is Cardboard 2.0.

Google has designs on the virtual reality market, but will let others make the hardware.
The Verge

Rather than an attempt to take on high-end gear such as Facebook's Oculus or HTC's Vive, Google's new virtual reality headset really is Cardboard 2.0.

The Daydream design that Google announced on Wednesday aims to be far comfier than Cardboard, including a headband and more ergonomic fit. But at its heart, it's a low-end device that, like Cardboard, relies on a smartphone to act as the systems, brains, display and head-tracking mechanism.

Where Google is adding some technology is in a companion controller. The tiny remote is packed with sensors as well as a pair of buttons and a touch-sensitive trackpad. The controller can also tell when the unit is tilted and which direction it faces.

Google doesn't plan to sell the Daydream controller headset directly, but will make its designs available to hardware makers. Daydream is set to arrive this fall, but the company didn't announce which partners were making headsets and controllers.

The other big hardware component in Daydream, of course, is the smartphone. As with Cardboard, Daydream will have a phone drop in, with that unit serving as the virtual reality display.

Google plans to certify as Daydream-ready phones that meet certain qualifications around display resolution, head-tracking ability and the amount of delay in tracking head motions. Many of the latest high-end phones should be able to fit the bill, though.

Samsung, HTC, Alcatel, Asus, Huawei, Xiaomi, LG and ZTE all plan to make Daydream-ready phones, Google said.

On the software side, Google plans to bake a "VR Mode" into Android N that will include a VR version of the Google Play Store as well as means for accessing content from partners including Netflix, Hulu and Imax, plus Google-made apps including Google Photos, Street View and YouTube.

Google I/O 2016: Daydream Virtual Reality

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