Google has released two generations of virtual reality (VR) headsets of its own so far, both based on its Daydream VR platform. But while it announced a bevy of Daydream VR partners at its Google I/O developer conference this past summer, few third-party products made to store shelves. If Huawei has its way, it might just be one of the first: On Thursday, the smartphone maker’s custom-designed Daydream VR controller passed through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Google’s Daydream VR platform is in many ways an evolution of Google Cardboard, a cheap, affordable answer to Samsung’s Gear VR. Daydream VR, which runs off of a compatible Android smartphone, has its own application store, development kit, and certification process. It’s even got its own internal Google division, Daydream Labs, dedicated to exploring new VR experiences. Google Cardboard was great for what it does, but Daydream VR takes things to the next level.
Google had a number of requirements for Google Cardboard partners from the get-go, and the same is true of Daydream VR. They were fairly stringent, which is one possible reason there hasn’t been much of an uptake yet. Another is market dynamics: HTC announced this past summer that it was working on a standalone Daydream VR headset, but cancelled that project in light of financial woes.
The FCC documents seem to indicate that Huawei is close to releasing something Daydream VR-related. It’s similar to the Daydream VR controller that ships with the Daydream View, but Google affords original equipment manufacturers (OEM) a bit of design freedom, so it’s not exactly the same. Still, all of the Daydream controller’s most familiar elements are there, including volume up and down buttons, a touch-sensitive directional pad, a return button, and home button.
Here’s hoping we learn more about it soon.
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