In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, Google will be announcing a number of new products and services — a couple of phones, a home automation hub, a new OS and — potentially — further details (including a price) on its Daydream virtual reality headset.
Sources told Variety the Daydream could be priced as low as US$79.
As we reported when Daydream was announced in May, Daydream’s VR features are set to be baked right into the Android operating system as part of a “three point plan”.
The three-part plan includes phones, headsets and the new Daydream content ecosystem.
From the smartphone point of view, Google is incorporating a new “VR Mode” directly into Android N, which optimises the phone’s performance and user interface for use in Cardboard viewers. Notifications will show up properly — even in VR — and the phone’s display will respond with blistering 20ms latency.
Though Google’s not actually producing a competitor to Oculus Rift or Gear VR, it’s releasing a reference design for a VR headset and controller that will be made available to third-party manufacturers. The company is showing off the design at I/O. But beyond having a phone holder and a strap, it’s not clear how exactly it will be different from competing systems.
The third part of the plan involves a special version of Google Play designed specifically for VR. You’ll be able to shop for VR apps and experiences directly from VR mode. Partners include a lot of obvious players like The New York Times and Netflix. Google-branded apps like Movies will also be available. Google has also built a special app launcher for VR called Daydream Home.
That US$79 price point is awfully competitive — and we will know in just a few short hours if it is legit.