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Google Drops Smartphone VR Ambitions

Google’s smartphone VR ambitions has been abandoned with the company recently confirming that the new Pixel 4 and 4XL smartphones will no longer support its Daydream View mobile headset.

Speaking to Variety, Google confirmed that its experiment in this space has ended and will no longer be selling the headset or supporting the platform moving forward.

They did however confirm that, at least for now, the Daydream app and store will still work for existing users on older Pixel devices.

“There hasn’t been the broad consumer or developer adoption we had hoped, and we’ve seen decreasing usage over time of the Daydream View headset,” a Google spokesman told Variety.

“Although the system had potential, we noticed some clear limitations constraining smartphone VR from being a viable long-term solution.”

“Most notably, asking people to put their phone in a headset and lose access to the apps they use throughout the day causes immense friction.”

Google’s Daydream View was initially launched alongside the first-gen Pixel in 2016 as an answer to Samsung’s Gear VR headset.

Over the years, several manufacturers, including Samsung themselves, had added support for Google’s VR headset.

However, limited engagement from consumers in the years that followed led to a number of the headset’s biggest supporters and key industry players, such as HBO and Hulu to end their support.

Despite an intriguing concept, smartphone-powered VR headsets just didn’t catch on with consumers, and the discontinued support for Daydream seems to be another nail in the coffin of this market segment.

Internally, Google has said that they will refocus much of its resources into AR experience instead.

“We’re investing heavily in helpful AR experiences like Google Lens, AR walking navigation in Maps, and AR in Search that uses the smartphone camera to bridge the digital and physical worlds, helping people do more with what they see and learn about the world around them,” the spokesperson told Variety.

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