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Google Announces New Daydream View & Pixel 2

Stranger Things AR stickers and League of Legends AR are coming too.

Last year Google showed us their commitment to VR, unveiling a Daydream View VR headset, Daydream platform, and Pixel phone. Now exactly a year later, Google is back again with VR updates and an additional focus on augmented reality (AR).

New Pixel & Daydream View

During a press event Tuesday, Google announced the Pixel 2 phone and a new Daydream View VR headset. The Daydream View headset, which you can pair with Pixel 2 or any other Daydream-ready phone, is one our favorite ways to immerse others in VR. Just place the Pixel phone into the Daydream View headset and you’re ready to go.

Covered in a beautiful two-tone fabric that is soft to the touch, the second generation Daydream View headset has kept the best parts of the original and made them even better. According to Google, the Daydream View now sports high performance lenses, which result in better image clarity and a wider field of view. The motion controller now slides into the headstrap rather than the front cover plate. And for all of you who’ve felt a bit grey about the one color availability, the headset now comes in three new colors: Fog, Charcoal and Coral.

Last year Google launched with 25 apps and games on Daydream. Now the platform has more than 250 titles, some of which included apps like the much needed YouTube VR and NBA app. But now we can also expect a slate of new and exclusive premium content for Daydream according to Google.

Announced at the same event, you’ll soon get a chance to sit in on intimate performances from your favorite stars like Ed Sheeran in Austin City Limits Backstage. Hear personal confessions from comics like Trevor Noah in The Confessional, a YouTube VR original from Felix & Paul. There’s even an experience coming called Female Planet that lets you follow the daily routines of inspiring women, like Gina Rodriguez and Inna Braverman. And for you travel and science geeks, you’ll soon venture to all seven continents with the new series Discovery TRVLR, and blast off into space with IMAX in Google Play Movies.

ARCore & AR Stickers

On top of announcing a second generation Pixel device that gives you the same mobile VR experience we’re all familiar with, Pixel 2 also enables access to high-quality AR experiences thanks to ARCore, the AR software development kit (SDK) for Android.

The Pixel 2 camera is calibrated and optimized for AR, enabling robust tracking, even in low-light conditions, and 60 frames per second rendering of AR objects. To start, Google is putting AR objects and characters at your fingertips in a new experience called AR Stickers.

With AR Stickers, you’ll be able to express yourself with playful emojis and set the scene for your very own stories. There’s things like a Food-moji pack or birthday stickers that let you create a video for your friend with AR balloons augmented into your scene.

But our favorite AR sticker packs announced at the event have to be the ones for some pretty big entertainment properties—two of them being Stranger Things and Star Wars. A quick demo shows how you can interact with your favorite characters from Stranger Things, and be part of the scene as Eleven faces off against the Demogorgon. You can also team up with R2D2 to save the day with the Star Wars pack. There’s even an AR Sticker pack that lets you hang out with your favorite NBA Stars or the cast of Saturday Night Live.

Stranger Things AR Stickers.

These stickers are meant to give you new ways to be creative and capture how you’re feeling, and it all works right in the camera, exclusive to the Pixel.

If AR stickers just don’t do it for you, Google also gave a preview of apps and experiences built by their partners with ARCore. A Houzz app lets you bring the showroom into your living room and see how different furniture, accent pieces and more fit into your space. You can experience the real-time action of a League of Legends match through an AR map, built by Grab Games. And with LEGO, you can have fun building virtual models in AR with characters that come to life.

League of Legends AR on Pixel 2.

LEGO AR on Pixel 2.

There’s quite a few VR and AR updates to look forward to, all of which you’ll have access to with a Google Pixel 2. The Pixel 2 is now available for pre-order and will be available later this year. From now until the end of the year, your purchase of Daydream View will come with a bundle of top games to help get you started as well. (U.S., U.K. and Korea only).

About the Scout

Jonathan Nafarrete

Jonathan Nafarrete is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of VRScout.

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