Google wants to emulate Android to create a VR field daydream ecosystem

The Fortune website commented on Google’s new Daydream virtual reality (VR) platform. The article pointed out that Google wants to build an ecosystem of VR domain by following the Android promotion strategy.

In 2014, Google decided to enter the virtual reality field. Since then, Google Cardboard Glasses has emerged. It is the product that Google used to test the water VR technology. This product made of cardboard, lens, magnet and rubber band can make Android system run. The smartphone temporarily turned into virtual reality glasses. Encouraged by the positive response from the early market, Google continued to produce 5 million cardboard glasses, and the company's ambitions in the VR field quickly expanded. Google needs its own employees to believe that VR is not just an experiment, but a big bet worthy of a fight.

Clay Bavor, Google's newly appointed VR director, transformed a simple conference room at the California headquarters into a dedicated VR experience room with speakers, soundproofing and VR equipment. In this room, Google employees can use the VR device made by Valve to explore the Pacific Ocean or put themselves in a concert.

Bavo said, “The employees who walked into this room will first be amazed. When they leave the room, they will believe that VR is an important turning point for Google.” What is the situation with other companies? The most optimistic VR market is constantly developing. However, according to market research firm TrendForce, this year's market size is only 6.7 billion US dollars, most of which are driven by hardware sales. Two years after the advent of Google Cardboard Glasses, several competitors appeared in the VR market. Facebook's Oculus VR has released the industry's long-awaited Oculus Rift, which is compatible with Microsoft's Windows and Xbox. In cooperation with Oculus, Samsung began selling Gear VR. HTC released Vive running Valve software. Sony announced a VR system for its popular PlayStaTIon console.

TrendForce believes that the VR market will eventually usher in a corner, with sales reaching $70 billion in 2020. But the rise in sales is mostly based on software, not hardware. The software field is where Google wants to make a big difference.

Google wants to emulate Android to create a VR field daydream ecosystem

Bavol explained that he now needs to make software developers and smartphone makers outside of Google's headquarters aware of the importance of VR. In addition to promoting early adopters of VR's existing sales, they will be a key player in jointly increasing VR technology penetration. He also pointed out that Google's goal is to ensure that the most senior developers see Android as the operating system that provides the best return, rather than the operating systems of competitors such as Oculus, Valve and Sony.

At the recent Google I/O Developers Conference, Barwal unveiled the virtual reality platform Daydream, which is based on a new Android version and VR glasses, and is committed to working with partners to create Daydream-compatible devices.

Unlike entry-level cardboard glasses, the Daydream platform is designed to build a complete ecosystem. Bavos pointed out that "the overall idea is to consider hardware, software, VR glasses, control equipment and VR experience." He hinted that some competitors are still working on a separate link, Google is different, adopting global tactics.

Google's strategy is to reorganize Android's mobile operating system to accommodate more sensors, graphics cards and other important components required for VR technology today. The new Android system also better integrates other features of the phone in the VR environment. For example, when wearing VR glasses, the user can now also receive text messages.

Google's measures also include improvements to VR hardware. According to David Burke, vice president of Android engineering, when he walked into the lab in Bavo, the team at Bavo was playing with some microchips, fabrics, plastics and sensors to create a new The prototype of VR glasses and controllers is about 100. Burke said, "There are wires and computers everywhere."

The development of Google Cardboard Glasses took only a few weeks, and the new VR glasses that came out with the Daydream platform were built by the Bavol team for a year and a half. This VR device has a smooth textile material that fits well with the user's head and needs to be used with an Android smartphone to capture VR content. Bawwal said it is more wearable than a "small device." This sentence quietly mocked the Oculus Rift like a ski mask. The new controller has a small stick shape and Barwall tests the new controller by throwing a line in a VR fishing game.

In this piece of hardware, Google is late in the VR camp. But Bavo firmly believes that its influence will be the most significant. Google has developed new VR products in both software and hardware, but it also allows partners to develop their own versions. Google adopted the same tactics that pushed Android. Samsung and HTC, two major Android phone makers, will develop Daydream phones. Game giant Ubisoft and EA will develop Daydream VR games.

"With Android, we built a market for developers," Burke said. "I think it needs to be the same in the VR space."

This strategy has kept Google from being criticized as "can't build hardware that appeals to a large user base like Apple and Amazon." Google’s early attempts in the wearable world – Google Glass did not succeed. In 2014, Google’s smart home business Nest, which was acquired by Google, failed to achieve its sales target.

James Cakmak, an analyst at stock research firm Monness Crespi Hardt & Co, said, "Although with the Android operating system, Google has not achieved breakthrough success in hardware."

Bavol pointed out that Google has learned from the failure of Google Glass, and will keep these lessons in mind in VR tactics. For beginners, the Daydream system costs less than $1,500 (the price of Google Glass), or even less than $600 (the price of the Oculus Rift). But Bavo does not intend to disclose the price of Google's new VR glasses and controllers. However, the software will be free for developers to use.

“We are developing on the basis of comfortable, existing and familiar equipment,” Bawwall said. “People will continue to buy mobile phones.”

Bavo said that the above equipment will be produced by different manufacturers, not just Google. “So you can buy equipment from other manufacturers that turn your phone into a movie theater that you can carry with your bag.”

As a groundbreaking initiative by Google, can virtual reality ultimately be profitable? Bavo said that Google hopes to mimic Android's business model by selling VR content on the Play Store. He added that in-app purchases can be an additional source of income. What he did not mention was advertising. Advertising earned billions of dollars for Google.

Brian Brau, an analyst at market research firm Gartner, is confident in Google’s success in the VR space. He said, "Google is a master of ecosystems, and its efficiency is much higher than its competitors. Other companies want to build a VR platform, and I am afraid that they will not compete with Google."

Carmack agreed with this. Google may insert ads into VR content. He said, "Google is still essentially an advertising company, and VR can make it collect more data for ads and more specifically show ads to users."

Today, the focus of Barwal is to focus on the overall situation. “VR users can't have the same experience as they do in concert, which I can't pretend,” he said. “But compared to watching TV, VR is really closer to the world. Combined with VR equipment, the same seat on Broadway. Can sell 10 million times.

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