Google’s Daydream, Android’s built-in virtual reality platform, is as good as dead. Following the company’s annual hardware event today, Google confirmed to VentureBeat that the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL do not support the VR platform. Furthermore, Google stopped selling the Daydream View headset today. There are also no plans to support Daydream in future Android devices, Pixel or otherwise. “We are no longer certifying new devices,” a Google spokesperson confirmed. The Daydream app and store will continue to function for now.
When putting together our Pixel specs comparison post, we noticed that the Pixel 4 doesn’t support Daydream. On the Pixel 3 tech specs page, the AR/VR section states “Built for VR to work with Google Daydream View headset.” On the Pixel 4 tech specs page, however, the AR/VR section simply states “ARCore.” Furthermore, the buy button for the Daydream View on the Google Store now says “No longer available.”
This should come as no surprise to anyone who has been following phone-based VR closely. Just like Google Cardboard before it, Google Daydream helped give VR a boost by giving smartphone owners a glimpse of the future. But mobile VR is dying as the industry shifts towards better and more powerful VR experiences.
Daydream dies in 2019
A Google spokesperson shared the following statement with VentureBeat:
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.
In May, the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL shipped without Daydream support. It wasn’t clear at the time, however, if this was due to performance constraints, since the Pixel 3a doesn’t have “flagship” specs. In June, Google removed the Google Play Movies & TV app from its Daydream VR platform and directed users to the YouTube VR app instead.
Now we know that Daydream is dead on Google’s high-end phones and as a platform in general. If you have hardware that supports Daydream, it will still work. But Daydream’s days are numbered.