More than half million using Google Cardboard

More than half a million Google Cardboard kits are in user hands, Google Cardboard product manager Andrew Nartker announced in a blog post yesterday.

(Image courtesy Google.)

(Image courtesy Google.)

Google Cardboard is a smartphone headset, typically made out of yes, cardboard, that often ships as an assemble-it-yourself kit. It comes with lenses, an NFC chip to tell virtual reality apps that the smartphone is in the headset, and magnets to allow users to interact with those apps.

Some versions come pre-assembled, or made out of sturdier materials.

They come in different colors, too. (Image courtesy Google Cardboard.)

They come in different colors, too. (Image courtesy Google Cardboard.)

Now, Google Cardboard is not replacement for the Oculus Rift. Not just in terms of the materials used, but because today’s smartphones still lag behind when it comes to performance resulting, in, well, lag. Which causes nausea.

As a result, most virtual reality apps released so far are more passive experiences — 3D movies, music videos, virtual tours — where the user remains stationary at the center of the experience.

But, on the plus side, this also makes virtual reality much more accessible, both to end users, and to content creators, enabling the public to ease into it relatively gently.

Related10 sites where you can buy Google Cardboard kits

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Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China.

  • What no forest green!?!?! ok guess I’m going to have to use magic markers again like I did on my cat Fluffy… cool Fluffy looks just like a tiger now =^oo^= ~Winter

  • Serene Jewell

    What are these half a million people looking at with their new viewer?

    • Mostly, movies in a virtual theater. It looks like you’re sitting in front of a giant screen — instead of looking at it on a tiny cellphone screen.

      But there are also a bunch of virtual reality experiences starting to come out for Google Cardboard. VR concerts, car test drives, that kind of thing — where you and your avatar are both sitting in one place and the only interactivity is that you can look in different directions.

      Which is a very gentle and easy way to get into virtual reality.

  • Bubblesort

    I wasn’t able to find a detailed guide on how to make a standard google cardboard. The web site just gives you a printout to use to cut the cardboard into shapes and you get a list of materials and that’s it. It doesn’t even tell you what the parts do. I had to search forever to find out that I really don’t need the NFC tag, which is good because my Moto G won’t read an NFC tag.

    The best guide I found was on The Road To VR. It’s not a standard build, because they didn’t use magnets or an NFC tag and they put an LED on it for head tracking with a web cam and free software. They use an Xbox controller instead of magnets, which sounds much better to me. I’m going to order a kit and add the LED and set up my xbox controller and see what I can do with it. If I like it I’ll reverse engineer it and make one for my tablet, which is much more powerful than my weak little Moto G.

    http://www.roadtovr.com/diy-guide-build-smartphone-vr-headset-hmd-head-mounted-display-oculus-rift-games/