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Google Daydream Underwhelming with Future Potential

Google updates "cardboard" with an upscale $100 Daydream headset that pairs with the expensive new Pixel's phones, but this system fails to deliver anything groundbreaking. 

I daydream about a future where a cheap VR system (sub $200) that takes you into a UHD HDR 3D fantasy world, similar to jumping directly into a video game! I dream of an immersive experience that is wireless & amazing. A system that not only wow's you at first, but something that gives you ongoing enjoyment the way the people enjoy TV and video game consoles today.

For now we are stuck with 1st gen products like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. When plugged into high end gaming desktop computers, these first gen real RV viewers give an experience that is more detailed, more immersive, with more titles, in a more polished system that still feels very first gen as consumer products. The Daydream VR steps just ahead of the Samsung Gear VR experience, but falls short of delivering anything similar to the OR or HV.

Google has the right idea when thinking about tactile comfort with the daydream VR. No one wants to get a neck headache from a heavy VR unit with cords galore to trip on. Similarly hard plastic is better for cheap toys, and certainly there are VR viewers like that. Meg & I spotted a hard plastic VR viewer at Fred Meyer selling behind a locked glass display case for only $12. I already have two Google Cardboard viewers that work with my old Samsung Note 3 and the cardboard app. If Google is going to charge $100 for a face holder with lens's to accommodate your newest $700+ android 7.1 Pixel smartphone, then I would expect nicer materials that are pleasing to touch, and Google delivered with some tactile tasty fabrics in the Daydream. Still nothing that I would buy! I am waiting for a second generation or third generation VR device that will pair with the Xbox Project Scorpio or something like that, something more polished!

Underwear for your face. I cringe when I see people doing the HTC vive demo in public, imagining the kind of face goo that might have built up on the gasket, yuck! Just like I would not want to wear someone else's snowboarding goggles, I want my own VR headset for personal hygiene reasons.

Google cardboard was a good early preview of VR technology that works with a lot of different phones. I expected to see something a lot cooler with the Daydream / Pixel phone combo. Reading all the reviews, it sounds like more of an incremental improvement. Better is better, and some improvement is better than none at all, but I do not find the Daydream VR + Pixel combo appealing, especially not for close to $1000. I  hoped that Google would improved VR significantly when compared to the Google cardboard given the amount of time that has past and the price difference between a normal Google Cardboard unit + an older android smartphone combo, namely about $500.

VR seems to be driving mobile GPU development, though in the case of using the smartphone as the IO experience platform, battery life is the biggest hurdle. I think of the missions I have played in Destiny, some of them take more than an hour. To wear a VR headset for more than an hour sounds like a stretch for these early models of VR. The high price of the current VR platforms does not offer the kind of experiential return on investment level that would spike my interests. I am very interested in the future of VR while relative bored with the current offerings, especially with the Google Daydream. Its not a bad product, but its also not a good value for the $100 price.

Are the Pixel' phones worth what they cost? Depends on how you look at the smartphone landscape. There are no shortage of vendors selling $700 phones, the problem comes when you look at what people are able to buy in Shenzhen china for $200 or less. We are basically getting hosed, ripped off, cheated, screwed, you pick the description, we are being overcharged for smartphones in the USA. One of the only good values is the iPhone 5SE, but that involves going down to the Apple eco-system, a sandboxed walled garden of MFI certification standards that make the iPhone platform more stable, more efficient, and more secure.

No iPhone VR

The iOS phone system takes something away from users that is hard to describe unless you have used an android phone for a while. Not that one is better than the other, it really is like a taste preference. The sad this is that you only have two choices, iOS on iPhone or Android on some other phone. Technically Microsoft has some Nokia Lumia choices, but they are not really choices, at least not competitors to the other two platforms in a meaningful way. There is added penalty for going with Apple hardware as your smartphone, not even a Google Cardboard to try for iOS.

Apple Car & VR

It is rumoured that Apple is working on a VR experience of some kind, but wispering also tells us that Apple is working on self driving car. Vaporware, smoke, call it what you want, how can we talk about a product that does not ever exist to review. Nothing solid, the Mac Pro has not been updated for more than 1000 days. Apple does not even build a computer able to properly accelerate the Oculus VR or HTC vive. NVidia the GPU supplier that has long worked with Apple is able to provide the parts, but the absence of Steve Jobs brought with it a cognitive deficit in Apples leadership so profound that the removed the headphone jack from the iPhone 7. I started to wonder if they had been huffing too much smog down their in California. How ironic  that they have the strictest emissions standards and the the worst air quality simultaneously. I think the government in California is made up of plastic smoking morons, the highest taxes in the USA and a constant state deficit. If they cant do basic accounting, then its no wonder that Apple is making poor choices left & right in step with the state government.

Tesla in California, What?

I am reminded of Tesla in 2003, back then Tesla Motors was an industrial secrete project hidden from the eyes of oil companies and other nefarious sectors that might want to suppress EV technology from becoming part of something as awesome as the Tesla Model S. Speaking of cars that drive them-selves, it is the fleet of Model S vehicles featuring android as their operating system of choice, that brings autopilot to real world drivers every day, doing so in a more meaningful way with OS update 8.0.

Tesla said they had to operate in California because it had the correct amount of industrialization, namely the NUMI plant they picked up from GM/Toyota partnership for a $.10 on the $1. Tesla
"Freemont" assembly plant where the Model S's is made, perhaps one of the best sale prices on an industrial facility ever. This helped to get Tesla going and wish them the best of luck. The Model S has inspired the entire automotive sector to take a deeper look at EV technology, something that no doubt will bring more than 20 new models of electric car to the market with more than 200 miles of single charge range within just a year, in 2017. I suspect that by the year 2020, all the automakers in the world will be selling 300mi per charge electric cars that perform something akin to now aging Model S design.

VR to Self Driving Car

It might seem odd to bring up Tesla in a discussion about VR, but I assure you the platforms are related. The computer in the Model S and the software that makes the self-driving car action happen overlaps with the stuff happening in the Microsoft Hololens, Oculus VR, HTC Vive, Google Cardboard/ Daydream and more.

HUD in your Eyes

I am looking forward to a HUD contact lens that pairs to my smartphone over some low power wifi standard like bluetooth 4.0 LE, Ant+, Ziggbee, or some super low power mobile mesh network wifi protocol part of 802.11 AD or beyond.

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