Daydream Available for Pre-Order: What We Know About Google’s Virtual Reality Headset

Daydream View
Janko Roettgers / Variety

Google has opened up pre-orders for its Daydream View virtual reality headset on its web store this week. This comes as the company has started to sell its Pixel phone, which is the first phone to support Daydream.

Google officially unveiled Daydream View at a press event earlier this month, but the company has been slow to release key details on the device. That being said, here is what we know so far about Daydream View:

What it is: Daydream View is a mobile VR headset, which means that you’ll use a compatible phone as a display. It’s similar to Samsung’s Gear VR headset, with some notable differences: Daydream View is covered with cloth, which makes it a lot more comfortable. It also comes with an external controller that doubles as a Wii-like game pad, tracking motion for game play and other applications.

Price and availability: Daydream View costs $79, and can already be pre-ordered via Google’s web store. It will also be sold at Best Buy and Verizon stores. There’s still no official launch date for the device, with Google only stating that it would be “coming this November,” but users who pre-order it on Google’s site are being told that it will ship within the next 2-3 weeks.

Launch apps: Google promises that there will be more than 50 apps available for Daydream before the end of the year. Some of these apps will include Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, YouTube, NBA, MLB, CNN as well as VR apps from the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian and USA Today. There will also be a Jaunt VR app and an app for Baobab’s “Invasion!” animated VR short film. Games will include “Eve Gunjack 2,” “Need for Speed No Limits,” “Lego Brick Headz Dream Builder,” and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

Compatible phones: At launch, Daydream View will work with Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL phones. The headset isn’t limited to Google’s phones, and will over time also work with other VR-optimized Android smart phones from Daydream partners like Huawei, Asus, Samsung and Xiaomi. However, Daydream isn’t backwards compatible, so don’t expect to be able to use your Samsung S7 with the headset. Also not supported at all: Apple’s iPhones.

Limitations: Daydream doesn’t support positional tracking, which essentially means that the headset doesn’t know where you are in a room, or which way you are moving. This means that many of the apps available on high-end VR headsets like Oculus Rift, HTC Vive or PlayStation VR won’t work on Daydream. Also amiss from Daydream View is any kind of augmented reality. The headset fully covers your phone’s front-facing camera, so it’s impossible for apps to use the camera input for augmented reality experiences.