Google has told Android consumers that its Daydream VR platform is headed to market this Fall, and that Android OEMs would be making VR headsets with a design that would come from Google itself, but we’ve seen little in the way of any Daydream VR headset since the Google I/O 2016 announcement. Bloomberg tells us that Google would announce Daydream soon, and that the search engine giant has been spending six figures on the effort — recruiting celebrities to win over consumers. Well, we don’t know when the Google VR Daydream headset will arrive, except a lucky guess being when the new Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL are announced on October 4th, but a new US patent filed by Google gives some new information on what we can expect from the Google VR headset.
The new patent shows a VR headset tethered to a smartphone, yet having a screen of its own. This means that the Google VR headset could very well be a hybrid virtual reality headset, the kind that works as a cross device between the Oculus Rift, which mandates a gaming PC, versus Samsung’s Gear VR that uses just a smartphone to 1) provide the screen and 2) on which the gaming occurs housed within the headset. While the Google VR headset could be a cross between these, it seems as though it mandates too much work: if the Daydream VR headset has its own screen, why would it need a smartphone to operate? If it has a smartphone, why not just make a Gear VR-like device that utilizes the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL to play games and interact with VR?
Google could also decide to bring both a tethered and untethered experience together so that players can choose, based upon mood, which method they’d like to use at each moment. One day, the gamer wants to use his smartphone and the VR headset; the next day, he wants to tether it to his smartphone if he’s out and about in the park, for example. Perhaps the smartphone-tethered experience is designed for certain occasions, the untethered experience for others.
In any case, we can at least see that Google’s got something more in mind for the Google VR headset than just the design (as you can see in the photo beneath the patent drawing below). Daydream, the Google VR headset platform, was announced at Google I/O 2016. A number of Android-powered smartphones from well-known OEMs such as Samsung, LG, and even Huawei will come Google VR (Daydream) headset-ready.