Android 11 officially kills Daydream and the dream of smartphone VR


It was, like Thanos, inevitable but some might still get some feels with the revelation that Daydream VR is truly no more. At least not as far as Google is concerned. The writing on the wall has been there since last year so it was really only a matter of time before Android officially dropped support for Google’s remaining VR platform and with it goes the last remaining bastion of smartphone-powered VR headsets.

It may have sounded ingenious back then, especially when all you practically needed was some cardboard and specialized lenses. At least that was the appeal of Google Cardboard, what would eventually grow up to be Daydream, and it gave birth to a market of phone-powered VR headsets, many of them cheap and still available in markets.

Daydream, unfortunately, never reached its full potential, partly due to technical limitations and partly from lack of industry push and guidance. The overall experience was clunky and crude, including Google’s own implementation. It failed to meet expectations that unreasonably compared them to the likes of the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive.

So Google decided to call it quits last year and the Google Daydream app no longer works with Android 11. Third-party apps may or may not work with the latest Android version and Google doesn’t make any assurances.

That said, the mobile VR dream lives on but in a different form. Devices like the new Oculus Quest 2 are pretty much standalone VR headsets with the guts of a smartphone, for example, but some headsets might also still tether to a smartphone for some capabilities. These are, of course, mostly out of Google’s hands now, which may be for the best considering how many times Google has tried and failed to bring AR and VR headwear to the consumer market.



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