Google Cardboard delivers fresh round of updates

Google Cardboard delivers fresh round of updates

Remember all that loud talk back in June about the new Google Cardboard, an egalitarian virtual reality solution announced at I/O 2014? You can rest assured that Google is not about to put it on the shelf. TechRadar US News Editor, Michelle Fitzsimmons, summed up what's on tap: "The company added a dedicated collection page on Google Play for Google apps. There are now more places to pick up a Cardboard viewer, developers have access to SDKs for Android and Unity and makers scored some new building specs. Finally, Google said it's hiring for positions in Cardboard and VR, signaling this is far from the last we've heard about the DIY VR viewer." Andrew Nartker, Google Cardboard product manager, took to the developers blog at Google on Wednesday, saying since its debut the team continued working to improve Google Cardboard ever since and they now offer a fresh round of updates for users, developers and makers.

The SDKs for Android and Unity will give developers time back: "you've probably wrestled with issues like lens distortion correction, head tracking, and side-by-side rendering," he said, and "they can suck up all your time—time you'd rather spend on gameplay or graphics." The kits for Android and Unity will help simplify common VR development tasks. For those who use the kit for Unity, one can adapt an existing Unity 3D app for or build one's own VR experience from scratch.

Early next year, said Nartker, they will add a viewer calibration tool to the Cardboard SDK. The team had open-sourced a Cardboard viewer specification earlier this year and as of this week they are responding to the community of makers further. Namely, the new building specs published have specific cutting tools in mind, from laser- or die-cutting the viewers in high quantities to carving single units with a blade.

Cardboard apps now have their own place, called "Apps for Google Cardboard," showing the various opportunities for immersion in the Google Play store. The VR experiences include concerts and games.

Earlier this week, meanwhile, Pitchfork's Jeremy Gordon wrote that Jack White has enabled his fans to watch him in a virtual reality, immersive stereoscopic 3D using Google Cardboard. He has a Third-D app with Android phones. The app was made available for download. To view the videos in 360-degree stereoscopic 3D, users need a recent 5" or 6" Android phone and Google Cardboard virtual reality viewer, turning the phone into a VR headset.

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