Since its reveal back in 2014 Google’s DIY virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) concept, Google Cardboard, has been iterated on by plenty of third parties. Other companies have offered their own take on the smartphone-based device, changing materials and adding new features. The result is a market that’s somewhat fragmented, however slight, by differences in specifications and optics. As a result Google has this week revealed a new initiative named ‘Works with Google Cardboard’, along with several other enhancements to Cardboard.
This new concept actually applies to hardware creators, developers and users. For the former, it’s now possible to define key parameters to Google in exchange for a QR code that can be placed on the device itself. A user can then scan this code using the Google Cardboard app to optimise all Cardboard compatible experiences with that HMD. Manufacturers can now also apply for a program certification badge to help users easily identify quality Cardboard products.
Elsewhere, Google has released new design guidelines to help developers create content for Cardboard devices. Cardboard software development kits (SDKs) for both Android and Unity have also been updated to improve head-tracking, drift correction and more. Finally, the Google Play collection of Cardboard compatible apps has expanded with new categories to help users quickly find quality content.
Google has also made two important acquisitions towards the future of Cardboard. First up, the Thrive Audio team from the School of Engineering in Trinity College Dublin to help work on audio in VR. The teamed behind Tilt Brush is also coming on board to help build VR apps.
There’s plenty of VR updates to be had for Google Cardboard, then. VRFocus will continue to follow the HMD closely, reporting back with any further updates on it.