Despite impressive specifications Google’s new Pixel 4 phone doesn’t work with its Daydream VR platform. Google confirmed in a statement it is ending sales for its Daydream View which allowed you to slot in a series of Android-based phones and enjoy a simple 3DoF VR experience.
The lower budget Pixel 3a debuted earlier this year without support for the platform and we’ve seen a series of departures from Google of VR-focused researchers over the last few years. We reached out to Google for confirmation and received the following statement from a spokesperson over email:
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. 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.
Facebook held a eulogy for slot-in VR at its developer conference last month. Say goodbye, then, to the headaches of VR headsets which consume precious phone battery life and offer only three degrees of freedom to move around comfortably.