September 28, 2015 weblog
A VR Kit from Microsoft? May be budget-worthy contender
It's interesting what a simple cardboard box with a pair of lenses can do in drawing interest from techie sites worldwide. But then again we are in a VR-conscious marketplace and have already seen the news over Google Cardboard.
Now a VR Kit from Microsoft is being talked up as a possible competitor to Google's Cardboard. Sounds like Cardboard: "Microsoft is trying to attract developers to an upcoming hackathon that will use the company's VR-Kits," reported Thurrott on Sunday. The report said the kit works by inserting a Lumia into a cardboard box and then the user holds it to the face. Microsoft VR Kit can, like Cardboard, turn a phone into a VR experience.
The Microsoft flavor was spotted on a site to promote a hackathon in Russia, an event to take place on October 17. Jared Newman of PC World said that "Participants will get their own cardboard phone holder, and will compete to win prizes for the best VR game, education app, and corporate app. A Kinect scanner will allow people to bring 3D models of themselves into the virtual world."
Brad Linder in Liliputing reminded anyone who is not yet familiar with Cardboard: This is "a project that can turn just about any recent iPhone or Android phone into a virtual reality device. Just follow Google's instructions for assembling a VR headset from a piece of cardboard and insert your phone to use it as the brains and screen of the system… or buy a pre-made kit."
While it sounds a lot like Cardboard, Linder poked at what could be seen about it and came up with how it might differ:
"It's interesting to note that while the back of Google's Cardboard design covers up the entire smartphone, the Microsoft VR Kit seems to have a cut-out for the camera, suggesting that the company envisions VR apps that can take advantage of the camera to snap photos, videos, or perhaps create augmented-reality situations where virtual objects are overlaid on real-world environments captured with a smartphone camera."
Still, all this talk about comparisons between Google Cardboard and this spotted promotion remains buzz.
WinBeta said on Monday that "no word has emerged on Microsoft's plans for this VR platform of what its implications would be for the Windows 10 Mobile."
Katie Collins in CNET similarly said on Monday that "It's not yet clear what product plans if any the company has for its own cardboard kit, though. Microsoft didn't immediately respond to a request for comment."
Shane McGlaun of SlashGear said it was also not yet clear if the VR Kit will hold devices other than Lumia smartphones.
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