One way or another, Daydream will work on the Galaxy S8.
If you try to install Google Daydream on the Galaxy S8, a phone that exceeds the requirements for Google’s VR platform in every conceivable way, you’ll be met with an error message stating a compatible version is missing and will not be able to install Daydream.
The bad news — a compatible version of Google Daydream doesn’t exist for the Galaxy S8.
The good news — that isn’t going to be true forever, no matter what Samsung and Google say.
With its impressive Infinity Display and the most capable processor you can get in an Android phone today, the Galaxy S8 is the most capable mobile VR system you can buy today. We know this, because it comes pre-loaded with a trigger to install the biggest mobile VR platform on the planet — the Oculus-powered Gear VR.
This could have been an easy win for an admittedly niche group of Android users.
It’s not unusual for Samsung to prefer partner software to Google’s offerings, and there’s no arguing the Gear VR is the more feature complete when compared to Daydream right now, but what happened to choice here? Daydream currently offers access to Google Play content that isn’t currently available on the Gear VR, not to mention a killer YouTube app. Plus, some people upgrading to the Galaxy S8 may already have a Daydream View headset. This could have been an easy win for an admittedly niche group of Android users.
Don’t worry, you’ll eventually be able to install Daydream on this phone. Like every other Android phone, the only thing stopping you from installing Daydream is a single line in one of the system permissions files. If you add that flag yourself, using the handy guide we’ve assembled for other phones, Daydream will start working immediately. Accessing that system permission file requires something called root access, which isn’t available for the Galaxy S8 just yet. If history is any indicator, the wait for this root access won’t be particularly long.
Google only allows partners to add this line of code to phones that meet the Daydream spec, which involves Samsung and Google reaching a distribution agreement that doesn’t conflict with the current Oculus relationship. Until that happens, this is going to be the only way to enable Daydream on your phone.