NEW YORK--Virtual reality has a new entry-level competitor: a fabric-covered headset from Google that will compete with the mid-market 99 Samsung VR. Daydream View is a 79 mobile virtual reality headset -- with notably, a VR motion controller that is normally in the domain of more expensive VR gear -- that will be compatible with the Google's just-announced Pixel smartphones and eventually other Daydream-certified handsets. Google first announced its Daydream VR platform at its I/O conference last May. Preorders for Daydream View start later this month, with the product slated to ship in early November. It will be available in slate gray, crimson or snow colors.
Google announced on November 16 the launch of Google Earth in virtual reality through the HTC Vive headset. We must face up to the potential dangers of widespread virtual reality technology before it's too late. Now available on the Steam Store, Google Earth will allow HTC Vive users to fly over a city, stand on top of mountain peaks, and soar into space. Google has included several pre-set tours and destinations to find the real treasure spots of our world, within the VR app. CNET spent hands-on time with the new app, noting a comfortable and immersive experience.
Virtual reality and augmented reality development is still a growing field, but a new Google app now makes it easier for entry-level or advanced users to create on the platform. On Thursday, Google launched its new Blocks app for virtual object design. In Blocks, users can design anything ranging from small objects to intricate landscapes using a simple and intuitive interface. Check out Google's teaser for the app below: The app launch for Blocks was designed, in part, to solve the limitations current 3D design apps have and make modeling more easily accessible to general users. While Google has its own Daydream headset, Blocks is only available on the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift because of the app's need to have you walk around the object you want to make.
Today Oculus VR, the virtual-reality hardware company Facebook acquired for 2 billion in 2014, releases its flagship headset, the Oculus Rift. In so doing, it launches the era of commercial virtual reality, capping three decades of dreams, prototypes, false starts, and retreats into industrial specialization. Rift isn't alone: Later this year, Sony plans to ship its 399 PlayStation VR, a headset for use with its popular home console. And the Vive, a collaboration between the Taiwanese hardware manufacturer HTC and the American software company Valve, is also expected to appear in 2016. Cheaper options are available, too, including Gear VR, Oculus's 100 Samsung Galaxy smartphone VR attachment.
While ASUS's ZenFone AR might have been leaked days early, it's nonetheless a phone that's trying to drag us into the future -- whether that's virtual reality or augmented reality. ASUS says its ZenFone AR will be compatible with both Google's Daydream VR platform as well as Google's Tango augmented reality tech. While this is the first smartphone capable of both VR and AR, it's also only the second-ever Tango-compatible Android handset. Even when it comes to Daydream, the phone joins a small group of devices that are compatible with Google's VR platform. The phone itself is pretty unassuming, with a large camera module that looks like something from Nokia's now-gone Lumia smartphone series.