Recently we heard that Google is readying to push ahead with its VR efforts and has formed a dedicated division for virtual reality computing. Just a fortnight later Google seems to be drawing a line, and highlighting its achievements so far, with the humble Google Cardboard.
The Google Cardboard is a highly accessible VR device; it is bargain basement priced and requires nothing much more than a relatively modern smartphone (Android 4.1, iOS 8.0 and up) to provide a scintillating taste of virtual reality. As such, of course it has been popular. In terms of Cardboard 'hardware' sales Google has tallied five million such sales so far.
The familiar looking Cardboard was updated at the Google I/O 2015 with various tweaks including the ability to accommodate smartphones with screens up to 6-inches in diagonal. However the Google store sells many third party 'Works with Google Cardboard' compatibles, mostly with better material construction. These must account add to the shipping numbers but there's lots of Cardboard compatible devices available from the likes of eBay and Amazon which won't have been tallied up by big G.
Looking at app downloads Google says that there has been over 25 million downloads of Cardboard apps from Google play so far. If you look at the chart, above, it looks like there is an exponential growth curve so far. The most popular third party Cardboard app is a mystery adventure game called A chair in a room. Please note that this game's rendered 3D environment requires a more modern smartphone (quoted as requiring a Nexus 5 or better). This highly rated game is coming to PC/Oculus in Spring this year.
The Google Cardboard isn't only popular for dedicated apps and game experiences it's also used for watching VR videos from YouTube and sharing VR photos taken with the more recently released Cardboard Camera app. Furthermore it is used to offer people virtual travel expeditions; to the White House, the Republic of Congo, and 150 other places around the globe with Expeditions.
Have any readers dabbled with the affordable Google Cardboard, or a compatible, recently?