Google today announced the first Daydream-ready smartphone(s), Pixel and Pixel XL.
Already widely leaked across the Internet, the new Pixel line is replacing the company’s Nexus handsets, now incorporating more graphical horsepower, sleeker styling, and a price tag to match—all rumored well in advance.
Brian Rakowski, VP Product Management at Google, showed off Pixel’s hardware on stage boasting a Snapdragon 821, AMOLED capacitive touchscreen on both phones, 5-inch for Pixel and 5.5-inch for Pixel XL.
The screen resolutions for both phones differ however and may be a key differentiation for VR fans. The 5″ Pixel sports a Full HD (1920×1080) AMOLED panel, some way short of the benchmark set by Samsung’s GearVR comaptible Galaxy phones which sport QHD (2560×1440) resolution AMOLED Panels. The XL however, matches it’s samsung’s rivals with a similar QHD screen. This is important of course, when you start carving those pixels up for split-screen stereoscopy and blow them up through Daydream’s just announced ‘View’ VR headset, that pixel count really matters.
Clay Bavor, head of Google’s VR team, maintains the company has “tuned everything from their sensors to their displays” for the VR-capable Pixel.
Built by HTC, Google Pixel smartphones are available for pre-order today across USA, Australia, Canada, Germany, UK starting at $649. Google is bringing Pixel to market exclusively in partnership with Verizon in the US.
Unlike its little brother Cardboard, which allows almost any smartphone with an IMU to join in the VR fun, Daydream VR (like Samsung Gear VR) is considered a high-quality VR experience that uses a variety of flagship-level smartphones as a display.
Google previously mentioned the following manufacturers would be producing Daydream-compatible phones: Hauwei, Samsung, HTC, LG, Mi, ZTE, Asus and Alcatel. No specific phones besides Pixel were announced for the Daydream platform at this point.
This story is breaking. We’ll be updating as more information comes in.