It’s this same spirit that inspired our team to turn a smartphone, and some cardboard, into a virtual reality (VR) viewer earlier this year. Suddenly, exploring the Palace of Versailles was as easy as opening an app. And the response was kind of delightful.
We’ve been working to improve Google Cardboard ever since. And today—with more than half a million Cardboard viewers in people’s hands—we've got a fresh round of updates for users, developers, and makers.
There are now dozens of Cardboard-compatible apps on Google Play, and starting today we’re dedicating a new collection page to some of our favorites. These VR experiences range from test drives to live concerts to fully-immersive games, and they all have something amazing to offer. So give ‘em a try today, and download the new Cardboard app to watch the collection grow over time.
For developers: SDKs for Android and Unity
If you’ve ever tried creating a VR application, then you’ve probably wrestled with issues like lens distortion correction, head tracking, and side-by-side rendering. It’s important to get these things right, but they can suck up all your time—time you’d rather spend on gameplay or graphics.
We want to give you that time back, so today we’re introducing Cardboard SDKs for Android and Unity. The SDKs simplify common VR development tasks so you can focus on your awesome, immersive app. And with both Android and Unity support, you can use the tools you already know and love. Download the SDKs today, and check out apps like Caaaaardboard! and Tilt Brush Gallery to see what’s already possible.
For makers: tool-specific specs, and custom viewer calibration
To help bring VR experiences to everyone, we open sourced a Cardboard viewer specification earlier this year. Since then we’ve seen all sorts of viewers from all sorts of makers, and today we’re investing in this community even further.
For starters, we’re publishing new building specs with specific cutting tools in mind. So whether you’re laser- or die-cutting your Cardboard viewers in high quantities, or carving single units with a blade, we’ve got you covered.
Once you’ve got your custom viewer, we also want to help you tailor the viewing experience to its unique optical layout. So early next year we’ll be adding a viewer calibration tool to the Cardboard SDK. You’ll be able to define your viewer’s base and focal length, for example, then have every Cardboard app adjust accordingly.
For the future: watch this space, and we’re hiring
The growth of mobile, and the acceleration of open platforms like Android make it an especially exciting time for VR. There are more devices, and more enthusiastic developers than ever before, and we can’t wait to see what’s next! We’re also working on a few projects ourselves, so if you’re passionate about VR, you should know we’re hiring.
Here’s to the cardboard box, and all the awesome it brings.
by Andrew Nartker, Product Manager, Google Cardboard