Before actual “standalone” VR headsets go on sale from companies like Oculus, Samsung, Asus, HTC or Lenovo, requiring no high-end PC or smartphone link, your best shot at relatively affordable virtual reality immersion on the fly is still a Gear VR or Daydream View shell.
Of course, you’ll need something to act as the eyes, ears and especially brains of the mobile VR setup, and unfortunately, compatibility remains scarce. But not for long, at least as far as Google’s Daydream “ecosystem” is concerned.
Currently, you can only pair the search giant’s own Pixel or Pixel XL handsets, the Moto Z, Z Force, Huawei Mate 9 Pro, Porsche Design Mate 9 and ZTE Axon 7 with a $79 Daydream View VR-enabling structure.
There’s also the Asus ZenFone AR around the corner, a long-promised software update for Samsung’s uber-popular Galaxy S8 and S8+, as well as several other Daydream-supporting phones in the pipeline by the end of the year.
Specifically, a grand total of 11 mobile devices, according to Google CEO Sundar Pichai himself. Alas, it’s unclear if the aforementioned are included in this tally, and if a Pixel/Pixel XL duo is counted as one or two phones. Either way, you can be certain the Pixel 2 will support the virtual reality platform, probably alongside Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 and the Moto Z2 Force at the very least.
Meanwhile, Verizon has just started a “minor” software rollout for its take on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, with subtle “Infinity Screen” functionality enhancements in tow, the ability to send animated GIFs during phone calls and, at long last, Google Daydream VR compatibility. Let’s hope it works.