Google Pixel, Daydream View shake up Android terrain for developers

Google's Daydream View
The Daydream View. Image: Google
Editor's CornerDan Kobialka

Google's product launches this month marked new territory in the smartphone and VR markets, and mobile developers are taking notice.

First, Google unveiled Pixel, a smartphone that features both Google software and hardware. It also officially announced Daydream View, the first Daydream-ready VR headset and controller.

Google has big plans for the smartphone and VR markets, respectively. Both of these segments are expected to grow significantly in the foreseeable future, and launching the Pixel smartphone and Daydream View VR headset and controller now may help the company bolster its presence in both sectors.

Those developments have given mobile developers lots to think about.

For one thing, the release of Pixel smartphones could be the first of many moves that enables Google to take full control over Android.

International Data Corp (IDC) pointed out Android "dominated" the smartphone market in the second quarter of 2016, controlling nearly 88 percent of the sector. At the same time, however, Android was prevalent on smartphones from Samsung, Huawei and other third-party – aka "non-Google" – manufacturers.

Now, Google can deploy Android on a device it built on its own, and the company may even consider Android enhancements to optimize the OS on Pixel devices. The fact that Pixel features both Google hardware and software may force Android developers to take a closer look,

Then there's Daydream View, a device that may lead many developers to enter the VR market. Daydream View offers an affordable price point in contrast to the competition. This device will retail for $79, compared to $100 for the Samsung Gear VR.

Daydream View strives to bring the VR experience to everyone, and as such, could generate substantial interest from consumers when it becomes available next month. Plus, mobile developers who embrace the opportunity to create VR apps could benefit from demand for VR technologies that is expected to increase soon.

Market research firm Digi-Capital has predicted the augmented reality (AR) and VR market could reach $120 billion by 2020. This growth is substantial and showed that mobile developers who embrace VR app development may have many opportunities in front of them.

Pixel and Daydream View will hit store shelves soon, and mobile developers need to prepare for them. By doing so, these developers may discover new opportunities in the Android and VR markets. - Dan@FierceDeveloper