If you’ve got the time and resources, this is a fun weekend project.
The first Daydream-ready phone is still a couple of months away, as is the controller to use it, but Google wanted developers to be able to jump in right now and start testing their own apps. To make this happen, Google has included Daydream frameworks in the Android N Beta and offered up a handy guide for testing a simple app. Since we had a Nexus 6P on hand running the preview, it seemed like a good opportunity to see what this Daydream experience would be like.
To do this yourself, you’ll need:
- A Nexus 6P running the Android N Beta
- Google Cardboard, preferably one with a head strap
- A second phone running Marshmallow
- These instructions
There’s no fancy menus or anything yet, what you are doing is launching a simple app. Google’s demo for this is a fairly simple drawing app, where the controller is the paintbrush. Anyone who has seen or used Tilt Brush — which is also made by Google — will feel right at home. Follow the instructions Google provides for enabling the VR features in Android N and pairing your “controller” to your phone. You’ll see the controller emulator app set up the second phone as a controller for Daydream, which includes a space for the touchpad and buttons, and put the Nexus 6P in your Cardboard unit. You’ll see instantly that you can move around your controller and see the cursor move around in space. Double tap on that trackpad area to emulate a click, and you can now draw in space. You can swipe up and down on the trackpad area to change the size of your brush, but otherwise there aren’t a ton of other things to do. It’s a simple proof of concept, but it’s also a lot of fun.
As Google warns in the developer documentation, your Nexus 6P is going to be fairly warm within a short period of time. It’s probably not a good idea to be drawing in this space for more than a few minutes. The design here is to get developers thinking about how to build their apps for this experience, but if you’ve got the materials it doesn’t hurt to give this a try!