Google Cardboard, for those unfamiliar with it, is Google’s attempt to create a low-cost, easily constructed VR device. It succeeds beautifully with a simple design comprised of two lenses, a cardboard pattern, and a magnetic ring providing on-board controls. Similar to Samsung’s Gear VR, the screen is provided by the user’s Android smartphone, simply sliding into the front of the headset.Unlike Samsung’s offering, which is only suitable for specific Samsung handsets, Google Cardboard can easily be modified to accommodate any sized device.
It also happens to be one of the few currently available virtual reality devices, and the only one that isn’t still claimed as a developer’s model.The small amount of kits Google made available when they announced the system quickly sold out, but it left enough of an impression to encourage manufacturers. Since then retailers have begun offering their own third-party and off-brand version of the device, with similar cardboard kits available for $5 or padded plastic headsets similar to the Gear VR for as little as $40.
The recent Google Cardboard app, available here on the Google Play, isn’t only used to launch third-party GC app but also showcases a handful of Google’s chosen features and demos for you to try. These highlight includes flying across and exploring Google Earth, taking virtual tours, and inspecting ancient 3D artifacts from every side. It also allows for vision-filled viewings of YouTube videos and, thanks to a recent update, 360 ˚ videos.Thanks to the effort of developer’s there’s also an ever growing list of games and apps on Google Play for GC. Some of these are experiences where you explore a landscape or take a ride on a roller coaster while others are new games and challenges designed with GC in mind, or old titles that have been ported to Android.