How to Create a Virtual Reality Ecosystem for Android

June 7, 2016 | Raj Srivastav

How to Create a Virtual Reality Ecosystem for Android
How to Create a Virtual Reality Ecosystem for Android

2016 is the year of Virtual Reality. There is no other way to describe it – we’ve discussed it often over the last few months. Just when we think we’ve reached the peak of VR movement in 2016, Google goes and drops Daydream.

Daydream is a new VR ecosystem that will run on top of Android. It’s a different product than rival VR competitors (i.e. Samsung’s Gear or Oculus) in that it is a comprehensive VR platform. It’s the headset, the software, the actual VR programs; everything.

Daydream isn’t Google’s first foray into the world of VR. Google also runs the VR platform called Cardboard. Cardboard was and is actually quite successful, with over 1,000 cardboard apps being launched in just about 2 years. This doesn’t even compare to the fact that the Cardboard platform itself was downloaded over 25 million times in the same amount of time.

Heck, the new head of Google’s VR team even turned his conference room into a fully functioning Immersive VR chamber. Suffice to say, when Google decides it wants to build something, it does it. And the good news for our readers is that the money in the VR market is shifting to the software side – including new VR apps. Ready to get started on your Virtual Reality app? Contact us for a free consultation.

VR is following a pattern we’ve seen before in the tech market: in the beginning stages of a new tech, it’s all about the hardware. As manufacturing and engineering gradually improve the focus shifts to the software.

This isn’t to say that hardware stops improving; it’s more to point out that eventually advances in hardware stop growing by leaps and bounds. More importantly, the hardware becomes capable of handling increasingly more complex software. That’s where we come in: we essentially build interfaces to different technologies – from custom software to apps, to websites.

Let’s look at the evidence that supports my statement:

• The respected analytic company International Data Corp (IDC) is seeing some huge momentum in the VR hardware market. No joke, they expect that the sale of VR devices will expand by an astounding 2,400%. Nearly three-quarters of that will be solely screenless devices like HTC Vive.

• Windows has recently made some big moves to create a Virtual Reality Ecosystem themselves. It’s been reported that they expect roughly 80 million VR devices by 2020. So that’s why they got ahead of the game with Windows 10; it’s got the supporting software to take advantage of the soon-to-be plethora of VR devices.

• As of the beginning of June, the VR market had a (relatively) small market valuation at $6.7 billion. That number is expected to reach about $70 billion by 2020. That’s nearly 10 times what it is today. But that number is expected to be driven by software – VR apps and programs.

• There are several big players and partnerships currently active in the VR market:

    ♦ Google and Valve (video game makers);

    ♦ Facebook and Oculus;

    ♦ HTC and Valve;

    ♦ Microsoft

    ♦ Samsung;

While there are certainly other movers and shakers in the VR market, I wanted to make an important point with the above list: Valve is reappeared twice. Valve is legendary game developers (creators of the popular First Person Shooter series Half-Life) – in other words, they make software.

With Daydream, Google is creating an entire Virtual Reality ecosystem for Android. Valve isn’t the only big Gaming software company working with Google: both Ubisoft and Electronic Arts have already announced that they will be making Daydream Gaming Apps. More importantly, we are at a transitory stage in the market, one analyst look for to judge market movement.

This stage is when hardware companies begin to make their devices to support new software, as opposed to the other way around. For instance, instead of Google making Daydream work on SmartPhone devices, Android phone makers like Samsung and HTC have already stated their new devices will be built to work with Daydream.

In other words, Daydream gives us more than the ability to utter the wonderful phrase “I’m daydreaming about Daydream while listening to Daydream.” It’s the first stage in a new tech revolution. Don’t hesitate to get involved!

Venture Capitalist and Angel Investment

Just to add a final piece of evidence to our argument, there is one other place our market analysts watch to judge where the industry is headed: VC and Angel investment. These are the guys who decide who’s going to get money and who’s not, so it’s a good idea to see what they’re up to!

One of the most well-known VC investment firms is Boost VC. Boost VC specializes in what is called “startup acceleration,” which is pretty self-explanatory. Importantly they focus on two main investment types: one is BitCoin. The other? Yup – Virtual Reality apps and hardware startups.

Rothenberg Ventures, Highland Capital, Spark Capital: all are big Tech VC firms and all are investing in Virtual Reality. Even better for VR startups and VR app companies, they see it as a long-term investment. In other words, they don’t really expect a significant ROI for years to come – giving you, the entrepreneur, some breathing room.

Android App Development for Virtual Reality

There are two Google Projects (Daydream and Cardboard) that are focused solely on VR. Clearly, this makes Android an excellent platform to develop Virtual Reality Apps. Beyond that – Android provides other unique advantages:

    • Unrestricted development principles let us create really cool VR apps that push the boundaries of what we think an app can do;

    • The fact that most Android apps are free to download creates extremely low barriers to entry; in other words, users face virtually no risk to download a new app. This is a great feature for new app types;

    • The low risk to users has created an environment of early adoption. Not only are users more likely to download something because it’s free, but they’re also more likely to download a new app just because it’s new;

    • The free download aspect of most Android apps means that users tend to be more forgiving. They understand and expect new tech to need some work – again, a great feature for new tech.

Hopefully, I’ve made a convincing argument today. The new push towards complete Virtual Reality ecosystems and new VR apps is at the perfect stage for startup growth. Now is the time to get involved and to make yourself money, hand over fist. You can also call us at 408.805.0495 for a free consultation and quote.

Thanks, and we look forward to hearing from you!

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