Google seems to be waking up from its VR daydream. The company’s ambitious plans to leverage the smartphones that people already own to power VR experiences went unmentioned at its I/O developer conference.
After spending 2016 and 2017 making big promises for how the company would shape the mobile VR market and ensure that its Daydream platform would dominate, Google has largely abandoned its plans, letting the headsets and its VR content in the Play Store gather dust.
The only virtual reality news to emerge is that the company’s newest Pixel smartphones won’t support the company’s own VR platform, The Verge reports.
The company released two generations of Daydream View headsets for its mobile platform in 2016 and 2017, but there were no updates last year and not a single onstage mention of the platform or headset this year.
Google detailed plans during a dedicated VR I/O 2017 keynote to bring standalone devices to market via partnerships with HTC and Lenovo. HTC ended up bailing on the program, and after Lenovo released its Mirage Solo device long after estimated, Google failed to bring updates and prioritize bringing content that leveraged the new WorldSense tracking tech. The company is now largely pitching the device as a developer kit, though one wonders what exactly they’re developing for.
Facebook’s VR arm Oculus has announced and released two standalone VR headsets since Google last announced new VR hardware onstage at an event.
“On the VR front, our focus right now is much more on services and the bright spots where we see VR being really useful,” Google VR/AR head Clay Bavor told CNET in an interview, noting that they are still experimenting with hardware.