Google VR is the technology behind both Google Daydream and Google Cardboard VR platforms. Google VR encompasses support for smartphones, head mounted viewers and controllers, standalone head mounted displays and applications. Google VR provides an SDK for Unity that allows you to build VR content for this rich ecosystem of devices.
Google VR technologies includes Daydream, a platform for high quality mobile VR and Cardboard, built for bite-size VR experiences and 360 video. Daydream consists of Daydream-ready phones, headsets, controllers and experiences and supports high-end Android mobile devices through Daydream. See the full list of Daydream devices on the Google VR) website. Cardboard works with almost any smartphone on both iOS and Android.
Google Cardboard is the most accessible mobile VR solution, allowing anyone with an iOS or Android smartphone to experience VR apps. Cardboard does have minimum and recommended requirements for its usage, but these are much less hardware-bound than Daydream, focusing mainly on the operating system and basic control systems (such as the gyroscope). Users can view VR apps with an official Google Cardboard viewing device, or a third-party VR viewing device which supports Google VR content (See Hardware and Software Requirements section). Cardboard also supports a range of third-party handheld controllers, for apps which require more complex interactions.
Daydream allows more feature-rich experiences than Cardboard, but only supports Daydream ready devices such as Daydream-ready phones, built for VR with high-resolution displays, smooth graphics and high fidelity sensors for precise head tracking. Daydream phone apps are accessible with the Daydream View, Google’s headset and motion controller for experiencing high quality VR, using a Daydream-ready phone. Daydream will also support a Daydream Standalone HMD built by original design manufacturers. Daydream Standalone is an untethered head mounted display running on the Android OS including richer controller input and motion tracking.
See Google’s VR documentation for more information about the requirements and functionality of Cardboard and Daydream.
2018–03–27 Page published with editorial review
Google VR documentation updated for Unity XR API in 2017.3