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Google makes big push into virtual reality with Daydream platform

Posted on Thursday, May 19 2016 @ 14:19:38 CEST by

Google already had its Cardboard project but now the technology giant is making a bigger push into virtual reality. Over at its I/O 2016 event, Google revealed details about the Virtual Reality Mode of its Android N Developer Preview 3 and it announced a "VR ready" hardware certification program for Android devices.

To end-users, the whole thing will become known as Daydream. There will be Daydream-ready phones, which will be able to download Daydream apps from a new Daystream store. The first VR ready phone will reportedly be the Google Nexus 6P. Full details at ARS Technica:
"Google currently has Cardboard, but Cardboard worked in spite of Android, if you'd like," explained Android VP of Engineering Dave Burke to Ars. "It's clever and simple but we never did anything at the platform level to make it work. With N, we have." In Android N, those changes come down to improving motion-to-photon latency—how quickly you can get the display pixels to change in response to your head moving. When you move in VR, the sensors detect the movement, signal the GPU to draw new frames, and those frames get sent to the display to be drawn. If this doesn't happen fast enough, you'll feel sick.

Low latency is important to an effective VR display but might not be everything. When used with a certified device, Android N can kick over into a low-latency "VR Mode," which ratchets up the entire processing pipeline. An "exclusive performance mode"—which we spotted in N Preview 2—dedicates a CPU core to the UI thread to try to prevent nausea-inducing hiccups during heavy processing. The motion sensor pathways have been tuned as well, so Android N will get faster updates from the gyroscope and accelerometer.



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