SAN FRANCISCO—We're live from Google's product launch extravaganza, and the latest item to be announced is the "Daydream View" VR headset and wand controller. This is Google's hardware entry in the "Daydream" Android VR standard, which combines core Android OS changes, standardized smartphone specs, and standardized viewer designs to create a Gear VR-style ecosystem for any Android phone. Daydream View is the next step for Google Cardboard, and it will launch as a headset-and-controller combo in November for $79.
Like Google Cardboard and the Gear VR, the Daydream View is an empty VR headset that requires a smartphone to work. A phone slots into the Daydream View while the phone's display and computing hardware drive a VR experience.
Unlike the Gear VR, the Daydream View is completely a "dumb" headset, so there's nothing to plug in. The plug on the Gear VR connects the phone to additional sensors and buttons on the headset. Google apparently believes a better answer is to make the phone sensors powerful enough that they will work for VR. The control situation is handled by the bundled wand controller—which impressively tucks into the Daydream View headset's front panel when not in use, as shown below. (Click here for a GIF of the controller-tuck motion in action.)