Probably the most exciting on-stage presentation during the Google I/O 2016 regarded the new virtual reality platform Daydream. It’s based on Android N, and it will be the main competitor to Gear VR and Oculus Rift, with a controller that seems to resemble that of the Apple TV remote.

Google appears to have decided to take another try at virtual reality after Google Cardboard was a low-tech approach to the emerging industry of VR. Daydream seems to be a bigger project on its own as major manufacturers like Samsung, Alcatel, Xiaomi, Huawei, HTC, and LG already seem to be onboard with the concept.

Google stated that there are around 50 million Cardboard applications available, and some of them will also be available on Daydream. It’s safe to say that we could expect Electronic Arts and Ubisoft to provide apps for Daydream virtual reality experience.

Daydream will be available this fall

All of the applications that were presented during the Google I/O event were showcased in Daydream. The platform showed a stylized forest setting with applications floating in a grid in front of the user. Google even completely rebuilt YouTube for VR, much like the Google Play store.

The platform will allow manufacturers and game developers to use a unified set of specifications and programming interfaces for creating VR applications, made available in Daydream.

Google also created a VR headset and a simplified VR remote control that uses two buttons, a touch-sensitive surface, and a motion sensor for navigation and game control. The headset will directly compete against Samsung’s Gear VR, which currently sells for $99. During the presentation, Google showcased a sketch of the new headset, but aside from a hinged phone holder and a strap, the design wasn’t quite clear.

Daydream, which encompasses both hardware and software, will be powered by devices running Android N. Google Cardboard works with almost any smartphone, but Daydream will require devices to have special sensors and screens in order to display virtual reality.

Daydream is set to be launched this fall, but a developer preview will surely be available sooner.

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