Google Carboard ships half a million units as users clamor for cheap virtual reality

Kramer Phillips By Kramer Phillips | 1 year ago

Against all odds, Google’s Cardboard virtual reality headset is starting to take off.

Cardboard, which is a do-it-yourself virtual reality headset, made its debut at Google I/O, an annual software developer-focused conference held by Google in San Francisco. In order to use Cardboard, all you have to do is print out some instructions from Google, get some simple add-ons to build it, and then put your smartphone in the holder to create an inexpensive version of Oculus Rift, according to PC Mag.

Google Cardboard is starting to gain an audience, and Google says it has shipped a half million Cardboard kits. While you can’t get it from Google directly, some companies are offering pre-assembled cardboard kits. If you want a customized version, sellers are popping up to sell you that, too.

Google is creating new building specs for do-it-yourselfers to allow for more sophisticated creations. There is also a Cardboard calibration app to ensure the best possible virtual reality experience.

Cardboard-compatible apps are popping up on Google Play, providing virtual reality experiences for live concerts, games, and even test drives.

The company will release a “Cardboard SDK” version that corrects for lens distortion, head tracking, and side-by-side rendering. This frees up developers to focus more on building good apps rather than have to worry about technological obstacles, Google said.

There are other options for those who want a virtual reality experience but don’t want to shell out the money required to purchase Oculus Rift. Samsung has started selling the Gear VR headset for $200 each, which like Cardboard lets you simply slide your smartphone into the viewer — however, with Gear VR, your smartphone has to be a Galaxy Note 4.