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Google's Daydream VR experiment is over

Its latest phones don't support the platform and it's discontinuing Daydream View headsets.
Kris Holt, @krisholt
October 15, 2019
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Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

Google is bringing the Daydream VR experiment to a close. The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL smartphones it announced today don't support the platform, and it won't sell Daydream View headsets anymore. The Daydream app and store will still work for people with other Pixel devices, however.

"[There hasn't] been the broad consumer or developer adoption we had hoped, and we've seen decreasing usage over time of the Daydream View headset," a Google spokesperson told Engadget in a statement. "So while we are no longer selling Daydream View or supporting Daydream on Pixel 4, the Daydream app and store will remain available for existing users."

Google cited "clear limitations constraining smartphone VR from being a viable long-term solution." Namely, when people dropped their phones into headsets, that prevented them from using other apps. The company plans to continue working on augmented reality with features such as AR walking directions in Maps, AR experiences in Search and Google Lens.

The writing's been on the wall for Google's smartphone VR ambitions for a while. The Pixel 3a and 3a XL Google released earlier this year don't work with Daydream either. Hulu dropped support for Daydream VR last month and earlier this year, Google shut down its Spotlight Stories VR studio and Daydream's Play Movies and TV app. It also wound down the Jump VR platform in June.

Here's Google's full statement:

We saw a lot of potential in smartphone VR—being able to use the smartphone you carry with you everywhere to power an immersive on-the-go experience. But over time we noticed some clear limitations constraining smartphone VR from being a viable long-term solution. Most notably, asking people to put their phone in a headset and lose access to the apps they use throughout the day causes immense friction.

There also hasn't been the broad consumer or developer adoption we had hoped, and we've seen decreasing usage over time of the Daydream View headset. So while we are no longer selling Daydream View or supporting Daydream on Pixel 4, the Daydream app and store will remain available for existing users.

We're investing heavily in helpful AR experiences like Google Lens, AR walking navigation in Maps, and AR in Search that use the smartphone camera to bridge the digital and physical worlds, helping people do more with what they see and learn about the world around them.

Follow all the latest news from Google’s Pixel 4 event here!

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