Google Open Sources Cardboard VR

Posted on November 8, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Dev, Google, Hardware, iOS, Mobile with 1 Comment

With the quiet death of Daydream View, Google is open-sourcing its earlier Cardboard effort to prop up its VR platform.

“We’re releasing the Cardboard open source project to let the developer community continue to build Cardboard experiences and add support to their apps for an ever-increasing diversity of smartphone screen resolutions and configurations,” Google’s Jeffrey Chen writes. “We think that an open-source model—with additional contributions from us—is the best way for developers to continue to build experiences for Cardboard.”

That latter aside, about Google continuing to contribute to Cardboard, is purposeful, since many feel that the firm has essentially abandoned the VR market. It’s latest devices, for example, don’t even support Daydream View, the elegant and easy-to-use VR headset that it launched in 2016.

By comparison, its early VR effort, Cardboard, is decidedly less elegant. But it’s also a lot cheaper (just $15 or so) and is still an amazing experience. In fact, for all its advances, Daydream View offered no graphical enhancements over Cardboard at all. And Cardboard supports both Android phones and iPhones.

So, we’ll see how long Google remains (semi) serious about Cardboard now that it’s left the (ahem) nest. But developers who are interested in this platform can check out the Cardboard open source project, which includes libraries for creating cross-platform VR experiences.

“The open-source project provides APIs for head tracking, lens distortion rendering and input handling, Chen says. “We’ve also included an Android QR code library, so that apps can pair any Cardboard viewer without depending on the Cardboard app.”

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