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Google will compete with its partners and sell its own Daydream virtual reality headsets

Think Nexus, but for VR.

Google's Daydream reference design headset and controller
The Verge

While focusing yesterday on its new virtual reality headset as a design that will be licensed to partners, Google also plans to sell a version of Daydream itself.

The Daydream headset is designed as an evolution of the low-end Cardboard, relying on a phone to provide the display, brains and head-tracking abilities. Unlike Cardboard, though, Daydream is designed to be far more comfortable so it can be used for longer periods of time.

Listen to more on Daydream and Google's VR plans here.

A separate controller does have electronics, including a bunch of sensors, several buttons and a clickable trackpad.

VR head Clay Bavor confirmed Google will sell its version of the hardware.

"It's not just going to be [that we're] partners," Bavor said.

The move is similar to what Google did with Cardboard, showing Google wants to make sure lots of these headsets get out. If other makers get enough devices out, great, but if not, Google wants to make sure lots of people have access to Daydream.

Google and partners like Epic Games and Unity focused a lot of their attention on the motion-sensing controller that accompanies the headset. Oculus, for example, has plans for a motion controller shipping later this year.

The headset and controller aren't the only components for Daydream. Google is also certifying a range of phones as Daydream-ready. Such phones, which meet various display, processor and sensor requirements, are expected from LG, Samsung, HTC, Xiaomi, Alcatel and others.

Google is also building software support for a complete virtual reality mode into N, the upcoming update to Android. That will include support within the operating system for VR apps, as well as a new Daydream home screen and a VR version of Google apps like YouTube, Street View and Google Photos.

Google is also working with video partners including Hulu, Netflix, IMAX, the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball.

While much of the focus around virtual reality has been around gaming, Unity CEO John Riccitiello says he thinks it will be about so much more, from being connected to distant loved ones to being onstage with your favorite band to traveling around the human body, like in the 1987 movie Innerspace.

"It is literally going to extend the human experience," he said.

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