While it’s not exactly a shock, Google has confirmed to VentureBeat that the company has discontinued sales of its Daydream View smartphone VR headset. The news came as part of Google’s big hardware press event today. The company also confirmed that the just-announced Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL smartphones will not support the Daydream View, and that no other Android smartphones will be certified to use the headset.
Google launched both the Daydream View headset and the Daydream VR app platform in the fall of 2016. However, neither the hardware nor the software were a huge hit with consumers. In a statement sent to VentureBeat, Google admitted it “noticed some clear limitations constraining smartphone VR from being a viable long-term solution.” Those issues included asking owners to put their smartphone in a headset, while at the same time losing access to most of the apps consumers used on their phones.
Google stated it is now concentrating on developing augmented reality smartphone apps and features. That includes the use of apps like Google Lens, and features like AR-based walking navigation in Google Maps. Google says that current Daydream View owners will still be able to use the headset, along with the VR apps and store, for the time being. There’s been no word on when, or if, the Daydream app store will shut down.
The Daydream View launched at the height of interest in mobile virtual reality, and it had competitors like Samsung’s Gear VR headset. In 2018, Lenovo even launched a Daydream VR-based headset, the Mirage Solo. However, Samsung appears to have quietly abandoned the Gear VR platform and Google has now done the same with Daydream. The future for mobile VR appears to lie in standalone products, such as the Oculus Quest, which uses the smartphone-developed Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor.