It’s uncertain days for Google’s mobile VR ecosystem, Daydream. As we head into this week’s I/O developer conference, though, it doesn’t sound like we’re due for an update.
Speaking to Fast Company, Google senior VP of devices and services Rick Osterloh said the company will likely continue to invest in VR, but it “remains to be seen” where it goes.
“We’re still in the very early days of VR,” Osterloh said. “I’m sure we’ll continue to invest in it in different ways, but where exactly we take Daydream remains to be seen.”
Google’s Rocky VR Relationship
Google has had a rocky relationship with VR thus far. Daydream was an attempt to take mobile VR mainstream, enabling high-quality experiences on a range of Android handsets. Though we’ve never seen sales figures, the platform doesn’t appear to have really taken off. According to the Google Play store, many Daydream apps have very low install bases. The recently-launched Shattered State, for example, only lists ’50+’ installs.
Despite this, Google did launch a standalone VR headset in partnership with Lenovo last year. The Lenovo Mirage Solo, as it’s called, enabled six degrees of freedom (6DOF) inside-out head tracking, but only used a 3DOF motion controller. Google has shipped experimental 6DOF controller kits to developers, but whether or not they’ll release to consumers remains to be seen. the only update to the device so far this year added passthrough camera support.
Google previously told us that it was making investments for the long-term, and we did see a new VR display made in partnership with LG at last year’s Display Week. As Oculus prepares to launch its Quest standalone headset and Valve doubles down on high-end PC VR, though, we’re yet to see if Google will have a stake in the next wave of VR hardware. It is, at least, continuing to support existing headsets with its software.