Google today revealed its latest phones, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. And while the introduction of the devices didn’t see much fanfare related to VR, Google has confirmed to Road to VR that both phones are compatible with its Daydream View headsets.

When Google introduced the first ‘Pixel’ phone back in 2016, it also revealed its first real VR headset called Daydream View, putting VR in the spotlight and marking Pixel as the first ‘Daydream ready’ phone among more to come.

At the 2017 introduction of the Pixel 2, Google revealed a brand new version of the Daydream View headset complete with improved lenses and design, including a heatsink which increased the performance of phones while used in the headset. While VR wasn’t featured as prominently here as the 2016 Pixel event, it was still cleary a focus for the company.

But today at the introduction of the Pixel 3, Google’s smartphone-based VR ecosystem saw no updates to the Daydream View headset or mention of improvements to the platform. That said, Google confirmed that both the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are both Daydream ready phones, which means they’ll work just fine with the 2016 and 2017 Daydream View headsets.

Google Appears to Be Ramping Up R&D Efforts for "New and novel" AR/VR Lenses

The trend isn’t unfamiliar, and seems to indicate that interest in smartphone-based VR is waning in favor of standalone VR headsets. Samsung too, which once poised its Gear VR headset as a defining feature of its flagship phones, hasn’t made any significant updates to their headset in a few years, despite continuing to maintain support as newer phones have been introduced.

Oculus, who has a big stake in Gear VR as it runs Oculus’ software, has been largely silent about Gear VR in favor of Oculus Go, the company’s first standalone headset which is effectively a Gear VR but without the reliance on a snap-in smartphone.

Google too appears to be paying increasing attention to standalone VR at the expense of its smartphone VR offering, having touted the launch of the Lenovo Mirage Solo, the first Daydream-powered standalone VR headset, earlier this year.

“We’re continuing to invest in AR and VR,” Google said in a statement to Road to VR, and pointed to a slew of experimental features, including 6DOF input, which the company revealed for the Mirage Solo earlier this year. Google wouldn’t comment on future plans for Daydream View.

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. See here for more information.

  • Matthew Stephenson

    How is that going to work with the notch?

    • Konchu

      it never uses the whole screen anyways, but that is a epic notch so right to question.

      • Matthew Fortune

        First off you can turn the notch off and on. When off the screen terminates just below the notch. When you watch video either standard or VR the screen only run from the bottom of the notch to the bottom of the screen.

        • Konchu

          I never doubted it would work as Daydream is originally built around the Pixel 1 and 2 that have traditional top/bottom bezels. So this would only be an issue if they set the focal length of the lenses(aka a physical limitation) to take advantage of less bezels and aka something like the Samsung phones. Sadly with cell VR tech the smallest phones when designing limit the usable screen area to make the binocular view aka the more screen you can use the higher res the display. Turning off the notch should not effect as normally the area not in the sweet spot on daydream is black anyways and as this is oled same net effect of turning off the notch. If it was more like cardboard simple side by side 3D I could see bleed over light maybe effecting a tiny bit.

          I was just being a little Facetious on the Notch statement so sorry any misunderstanding.

  • Darshan

    Google need to workout their Lenovo All in one with 6 DOF Controllers… its high times. Also phone based VR need some innovation too..

    • jj

      phone based vr just needs to go away. it give all of vr a bad rep

  • MosBen

    This tracks for me as well. When I got my Pixel 2 it was with the intention that I’d get a Daydream headset, and hoped that we’d see things like 6DOF come to phone-VR at some point. But the reality is that a stand-alone system, while not as convenient as the phone that you already own, is just such a better use-case for VR that I don’t really care to use phone-based VR at all. I’ll still stick with Google phones (we have Project Fi), but unless their VR capabilities make a sudden leap that I think is unlikely, I’ll focus more on the Quest and whatever the follow up to the Mirage Solo is.

  • Lucidfeuer

    How could they release phones so badly designed? What the fuck is happening at these corporations?

  • Samsung is abandoning Gear VR and Google is abandoning Daydream, this seems to be the trend