(This is also the year I saw Mark Zuckerberg in the flesh. He is very small, and looks very scared around humans.) The Pixel 4 won’t support Daydream, and Google is no longer making Daydream headsets. It’s not even selling Daydream anymore. Speaking to VentureBeat, Google gave the following statement:
We saw a lot of potential in smartphone VR — being able to use the smartphone you carry with you everywhere to power an immersive on-the-go experience. But over time we noticed some clear limitations constraining smartphone VR from being a viable long-term solution. Most notably, asking people to put their phone in a headset and lose access to the apps they use throughout the day causes immense friction.There also hasn’t been the broad consumer or developer adoption we had hoped, and we’ve seen decreasing usage over time of the Daydream View headset. So while we are no longer selling Daydream View or supporting Daydream on Pixel 4, the Daydream app and store will remain available for existing users.We’re investing heavily in helpful AR experiences like Google Lens, AR walking navigation in Maps, and AR in Search that use the smartphone camera to bridge the digital and physical worlds, helping people do more with what they see and learn about the world around them.
I’ll unpack this statement for you: Google never knew why smartphone-based VR was useful, it just knew it could do it, so it did. Its new position is, “Wow, we had no idea people would feel weird about not being able to use apps, or strapping a phone to their face.” Who knew, right? (Spoiler: we did, because we low-key called Daydream’s demise in May. We’re awesome.)
The First Commercial VR Devices – The EyePhone Head-Mounted Displays. In the late 1960s, the virtual and augmented reality terms were coined, describing the field of technology we know today. This also encompassed the appearance of two of the very first commercial virtual reality devices in the 1980s in the face of the EyePhone 1 and the EyePhone HRX. Developed by VPL research, a company by Jaron Lanier, the devices were extremely expensive, costing as much as $9,400 for the 1 version and $49,000 for the HRX. Customers could also buy gloves that costed $9,000. While the devices didn’t really take off, which is understanding, having in mind their price, they were a major step forward in the development of virtual reality haptics and virtual reality goggles and head-mounted displays.
More unpacking: augmented reality is what matters. We’ve been calling that one, too. Hashtag-humblebrag.When Cardboard launched, it was the weirdest I/O giveaway (back when I/O was in the air-conditioned and comfortable confines of Moscone West, a.k.a. the good ‘ol days). CEO Sundar Pichai just sort of said, “Yeah, so, grab your mystery prize on the way out of the keynote hall today,” and everyone did Cardboard origami in the halls (seriously, the thing took some work to assemble) and pressed them to their face. We had virtual roller coasters, and other stupid time-wasting apps, and it was a neat way to showcase how powerful modern smartphones were. And that’s where it should have ended.
Cardboard was weird, and fun, and kinda cool… but not something anyone thought would have mass appeal. That Google thought differently is troubling but also hilarious. Others, like Samsung, are still doing mobile VR, but those days are numbered. Once the largest pillar falls, the entire facade will soon crumble. Google just shivved mobile VR in the gut. Now we just have to watch it bleed out.
So long, smartphone-based VR. We hardly cared.