When it comes to virtual reality, Google has already been very active in getting cheap devices into people's hands, thanks to Google Cardboard, and even supplying them with plenty of content to view, through YouTube.

However, 2016 is already a far bigger year for VR and Google's plans for the entertainment tech are massive moving forward. During its 2016 Google I/O developers conference, the company introduced Daydream, a new VR platform for Android devices that's built right into Android and supported by Google's own viewer hardware, the Daydream View headset.

Here's everything you need to know about Daydream, a fresh take on mobile VR.


Daydream effectively simplifies access to virtual reality content on a mobile device.

It comes in three key aspects. There is an optimal specification list that manufacturers must meet for a smartphone to be labelled Daydream-ready.

There is a Google-made Daydream View VR headset, although multiple manufacturers could also build their own designs (as long as they meet Google's standards).

And there is an all-in-one hub for VR content. Daydream Home is a one-stop shop where you can start virtual reality apps or view videos while wearing the headset itself.

At present, virtual reality content is fragmented. It is available from different places, but rarely all accessible from the one central location. Anyone who's gone through the charade of watching 360-degree YouTube videos on a Samsung Gear VR will know what we mean. You have to jump through several hoops just to get to the content you want to view.

Daydream is designed to solve that, at least for Android device owners. It will house the content from all mobile VR developers, no matter who they are. Sources big and small will be immediately accessible through the hub.

In addition, while Google Cardboard has been a fun and easy device to use to get a flavour of what VR is about, it's hardly high-tech or, in many cases, comfortable. The Daydream View headset is a much more comfortable and practical approach.


As well as headsets that meet Google's Daydream specifications, Android smartphones must also match optimal settings to be called Daydream-ready.

Manufacturers are yet to announce specific devices, Google's own new smartphones, the Google Pixel (reviewed here) and Google Pixel XL (also reviewed), are both compatible thanks to being powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor - currently the only chipset to be certified.

The list of other manufacturers that have so-far committed to releasing Daydream-ready phones includes Samsung, HTC, LG, Xiaomi, Huawei, ZTE, Asus and Alcatel. The same manufacturers could well have their own headsets in the pipeline, but none have yet been announced.

As well as the Daydream View headset there is also a specific Daydream remote control, which comes with the Google device. It is designed by Google and enables users to interact with apps without having to tap the side of the headset - as in the case with the current Samsung Gear VR - or fiddling with other on-headset controls.


Many third-party app announcements are yet to be made, but Google has confirmed that YouTube content will be available to watch, as will Google Play Movies and Google Photos.

We also spotted Netflix, HBO Go and Hulu on the list, and the company revealed that an app based on JK Rowling's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be coming too.

There will be plenty of games too, of course.

Google's Daydream View VR headset and accompanying remote control are available for pre-order now from Google's own online store. At launch, you will need a Google's Pixel or Pixel XL smartphone to use the headset.

Shipping will start on 10 November in the UK, US and other countries. It's priced at £69 in the UK, $79 in the States and will initially be available in slate grey from retailers such as Google's own online Store, EE and Carphone Warehouse. Two other colours, a lighter grey and a crimson, will be available at a later date. 

The Daydream app also launched in the Google Play Store on 10 November. This app serves as the main hub for Daydream View headset. With it, you can find and play with Daydream-compatible apps installed on your phone. You will also have access to Google Play Store to download other apps and experiences. Before downloading the app, you may have to update your phone to the latest version of Android 7.1 Nougat.