Google Daydream VR Ditches Smartphone, Goes Standalone With Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 VR Platform

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Sakkura

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While this is a development worth watching, I'd be more interested in standalone VR headsets with more powerful hardware. Not like a full-scale gaming PC, but something more than a smartphone SOC. Going standalone means having more room for a beefier SOC and battery. In my opinion it's a shame not to leverage that.
 

eathdemon1

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I wounder if none realtime rendering could be offloaded to a pc wireless? if it can be done, I could see some commercial uses for this.
 

Jeff Fx

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A cell phone is a really good fit for this application because it's a good screen and processor that the user was buying anyway, so VR is an inexpensive or free add-on.

Now they've left the smartest approach to inexpensive VR to Oculus and Samsung. A competitor would have been nice.
 

bloodroses

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I'm not real impressed with the idea. The biggest problem with phone based VR systems is that they have a limited field of view. I have the View-Master and the 3D gimmick wore off for me in about a day due to it. Their advantage though is that they are very cheap.

With this system they're looking at, it appears to have that same field of view limitation; plus I'm sure a higher price tag.
 

kcarbotte

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Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 is meant for VR. The company has yet to announce a single smartphone that employs the 835, because it's a bigger, more powerful SoC designed for VR.

Time will tell how well these perform, but I would suggest that this device is already going to perform much better than Smartphone VR.
It's already the middle ground you are wishing for.
 

Sakkura

Illustrious


"Meant for VR" is just marketing fluff.

As for Snapdragon 835 phones...

http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_galaxy_s8-8161.php

https://www.sonymobile.com/global-en/products/phones/xperia-xz-premium/performance/

http://www.gsmarena.com/oneplus_5-8647.php

http://www.htc.com/us/smartphones/htc-u11/

http://www.gsmarena.com/xiaomi_mi_6-8507.php

Snapdragon 835 is pretty much the standard flagship smartphone SOC for the immediate future. Standalone may allow better cooling to get a little more performance out of the SOC, but it's still designed for smartphones above all.
 

bit_user

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No, they didn't abandon their Daydream VR spec. They just added a purpose-built HMD as an option for viewing Daydream apps & content.

Now, the big question is whether Daydream apps can/will start requiring positional tracking. That could be detrimental to their phone-based Daydream platform.
 

bit_user

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I hope they go full AR, with the Lenovo HMD. That would be fitting, since Lenovo was their first partner on Tango phones.

Or, maybe there's a way developers can enable pass-through on this first iteration of their HMDs.
 

Alex-Nigma

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I don't really see he benefits of this solution, it still does not have the benefit of power that PCs have and lost its only benefit: price. I am much more likely to buy either a phone on the same socket or a PC VR headset
 

Dosflores

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It has one important benefit if you're used to phone VR: spatial tracking. And that's a big thing for mobile VR. The lack of spatial tracking is the most important factor in making mobile VR feel poor. There are some Gear VR apps that look great. You don't feel the experience is poor because the phone doesn't have enough power; the problem is that the virtual camera doesn't follow your head when you move it.

And it has one important benefit if you're used to "premium" VR: no cables. That's another big thing. You can only appreciate if you've experienced the feeling of trying to move your head and being prevented from doing so by a cable.

I think this new solution is what VR needs to become mainstream. It's a perfectly comfortable VR solution, and comfort is more important than power for mainstream consumers. And in theory it should be cheaper than any other complete VR solution (premium phone + HMD or PC + HMD or PS4 + PSVR).
 

bit_user

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I disagree. It could mean the 835 is designed to accommodate faster RAM or higher GPU clocks than you'd use in a phone, but what's definitely true is that Qualcomm provided a reference design and the software stack for anyone who wanted to use it like this.
 

bit_user

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Herald
I think the bulk of Daydream VR users will continue to be phone-based, for the reasons many here have cited.

I see this as being a premium option, for heavy users who want position tracking and/or don't want to burn their phones' batteries. It's even possible the HMD delivers better framerates or improves the experience of extended usage, due to bigger batteries, better cooling, higher clocks, etc.
 

Sakkura

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It's not an SOC that's designed to go into VR headsets first and foremost, it's a plain old smartphone SOC that can just also be used for VR headsets.
 

Dosflores

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Although the Snapdragon 835 is just a standard phone SOC, it seems that Qualcomm does the magic in its SDK:

https://developer.qualcomm.com/hardware/snapdragon-835-vr-development-kit

The Samsung Galaxy S8 features an 835 but it doesn't leverage its 6DoF capabilities, and it spends processing power on tasks that a standalone VR solution doesn't need. This new solution should provide much better VR experiences.

A similar example is PSVR. If you built a PC based on the same APU as the standard PS4, you could only get a terrible VR experience. However, PSVR manages to offer a competent experience.
 
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