Virtual Reality is slowly coming into the mainstream, and a lot more people are starting to get into it. Curiosity about VR has been opening consumer’s eyes to VR, the options available are still far from the reach of the masses. The VR market is divided into two categories; one that is affordable enough for everyone, but does not give the total VR experience, or one that is the ultimate in VR but would demand a hefty investment, not just in the device itself but on the computers that run them.
There is limited choice on the market, but there are two VR headsets that have impressed enthusiasts so far. Samsung released the Gear VR last year, and its creation was in collaboration with the VR giant Oculus. Since the release, the Gear VR has over $5 million in sales. They may take a slight change in market share after the release of Google’s Daydream VR. Currently, there isn’t much information on the Google Daydream VR, but what is available is enough for a comparison.
- Google Daydream VR
At the product launch, it was announced that, currently, there are only two phones which are Daydream-ready, Google Pixel, and Pixel XL. The options may not be much, but Google plans to work with other Android phones like Huawei Mate9. When this device was envisioned, Google had comfort and convenience in mind which is evident in the way the VR is designed.
The outer part is made of a clothing material with its lightweight and soft fabric and washable face mask. When it comes to control and usability, Google included a motion controller that reacts similarly to a Wii remote. It has two buttons and a motion sensor that gives the user the ability to utilize gestures.
The specs have not yet been completely released by Google, and there isn’t much to say about the VR’s display, but highly likely, it will depend on the device’s resolution. There are talks of Google bringing their most popular games into the VR world, but until that happens, there aren’t much available for this device. The best thing, perhaps with the Daydream is its ability to connect wirelessly. It automatically connects once the cellphone is in the headset. The device will hit retail stores in November and will sell for $20 less than the Gear VR.
- Samsung Gear VR
Gear VR may have suffered from the loss of the Note7 since they were supposed to be the top pair that will launch the flagship to new heights. The specs of Galaxy S6 and Note 5 are still powerful enough to operate the Gear VR, but these devices need to be connected through a USB-C port, which was the major change found in the Note 7.
The display resolutions on these phones are ultra-high QHD, and the AMOLED panels are a necessity. It was built or made of plastic with a rubber face mask with the control trackpad on the right side of the headset, and the Bluetooth gamepad is sold separately. Apps can be found in the Oculus store where they have built a wide selection but have room for improvement when talking about quality.
Navigating the interface is easy enough which is the result of the partnership between the two companies. It does become troublesome due to the trackpad on the side of the headset. Until the Daydream is released, we can say that the Gear VR still has a monopoly of the entry-level VR market with the largest app library including Minecraft, Netflix, and social apps.
Virtual reality can be an expensive proposition. The way VR is implemented for the PC is to make use of two cameras with the user in the center of the view. It also requires a gaming computer with a fast graphics card.
With cell phones, however, the VR implementation is different. The phone itself is the screen, and it is held in place by the headset. The phone has two images on its screen, which merges in the user’s vision. The 3D aspect of the setup makes use of the camera’s sensors. There is a minimum specification for the cell phone. When using a cell phone with lower specifications, the user might experience vertigo, dizziness, and nausea.
The Google Daydream VR is the name of the product as well as the specifications for a VR implementation using cellphones. The Pixel and Pixel XL models were the first phones to meet these requirements. The specifications are part of Android Nougat. This means that for a cell phone to use Daydream VR, it has to use Nougat, at the same time it has to meet the minimum specifications. At present, the specifications point to the high-end of the Android market.
At present VR for consumer products is mainly used in games. However, there are commercial uses of VR which have not yet been implemented. These include simulations, teaching tools, and communication. These goals would most probably take a while until developers can come up with uses and apps which can make good use of VR capabilities.
For both Dreamview and Gear VR, these are still waiting for a killer app which makes for a compelling reason to use VR. This can be a game app, or it can also be a way to handle big data. History has shown that killer apps can be anything and depends on the target market. Time will tell if VR will take off with the help of these affordable gadgets.