A few months after introducing Daydream at its I/O conference, Google is reportedly now ready to launch the mobile virtual-reality platform.
Bloomberg has claimed that Google is "investing hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece in virtual-reality films and programs". It also plans to promote VR projects from Hulu, fund the production of 360-degree videos from YouTube stars like Justine Ezarik (iJustine), and it's partnered with video game producers and sports leagues, all with the purpose of launching Daydream with a lineup of exclusive VR content.
Google has apparently spent a lot of money in recent months, because Daydream already faces stiff competition in the crowded VR headset space from likes of Facebook's Oculus Rift, Sony's PlayStation VR, Samsung's Gear VR, and HTC's Vive, among others. The company wants apps, shorts, and games to fill up a hybrid store in order to attract users, encourage growth, and create a highly engaging environment.
Google is reportedly spending "high six figures on video games" and offering "low five figures to low six figures" for projects with filmmakers and online talent. Also, YouTube is slated to be one of dozens of apps available at launch, alongside HBO’s streaming service, Hulu, and apps from the NBA and MLB. Keep in mind the latest version of Android, called 7.0 Nougat, began rolling out this week with support for Daydream.
In fact, Android Nougat has VR-enhancing features including faster graphics processing and quicker head tracking. It's therefore only matter of time before Google gives its new mobile VR platform a proper launch. Bloomberg said Daydream will even be introduced simultaneously with new Android phones, VR headsets, and controllers. Google has only developed reference designs for headsets and controllers, though.
The plan is that other companies will build their own VR devices, such as smartphones, which can run Daydream. We still don't know much about the mobile VR platform, including what Google is demanding of hardware partners, as we've only seen a concept of a prototype headset design and have heard that Daydream phones will require key components like specific sensors and screens.
That said, we know Google has partnered with Samsung, LG, Xiaomi, and HTC on building Daydream-compatible phones that would work with Daydream headsets to serve up a mobile VR experience.