Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) will not let itself be left out in the field of virtual reality, as the search giant has shown that there is a readily available answer to Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s $2 billion dollar bet in Oculus VR platform. While Facebook’s Oculus has yet to officially release any gaming device, which is expected to cost hundreds of dollars, Google has already rolled out its own contraption into the VR world. The tech giant calls its VR viewer as “Google Cardboard”.
Google products head Sundar Pichai officially announced Google Cardboard in June last year, during the 7th annual Google I/O developer conference. Sundar is in charge of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s Android, Chrome, and Apps division, apart from his post as products head. As the search giant would have it, VR is readily accessible, through Google Cardboard, and everyone can afford it. In contrast, the original developer kit from Facebook-backed Oculus cost $350.
And while any forthcoming device from Oculus is expected to assume some technical know how on the part of its users, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s Cardboard is a simple assembly consisting of lenses, magnets, rubber band, velcro, and the assembly’s namesake, cardboard. You just have to slide your smartphone into a flap that is closed together by velcro, and the contraption is ready to take you into the VR world.
Google itself does not make the cardboard kits, but a lot of third party suppliers do. Assembly specs and instructions for the kit are available at the tech giant’s website. Cardboard apps are now also available at the Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Play Store, and a software development kit has also been released for app creators. So far, an estimated number of 500,000 Google Cardboard VR viewer kits, which cost a little less than $30, have been shipped by third party suppliers as of early December last year. The question remains, however, regarding how will Google Cardboard stay afloat as VR, which is still in its development stage, becomes more sophisticated while advancing to a more mature level. This is because Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is bent on investing a hefty amount of resources into VR, hiring experts with specialties in such fields as augmented reality and skeletal hand tracking.
This article has been written by Nonito Guntan.