I’d like to try the Cardboard experience to compare to the Oculus Rift. I tried OR at Netspeed 2014, experiencing an under water universe (boring with unwieldy navigation) and a roller coaster (exciting; definitely created a unique, visceral experience that made me want to puke my guts out after). Looking forward to more virtual reality experiences as the tech and devices evolve.
Google Cardboard has come a long way since Android honcho Sundar Pichai introduced it with a sheepish grin six months ago. The smartphone virtual reality viewer, made from folded-up cardboard with a pair of attached lenses—you supply an Android phone to provide computing power and a display—has shipped more than 500,000 units as of early December. (You can build your own Cardboard, or buy a ready-made version from not-quite-official sources for under $30.) Google has now added a Play Store showcase for the best Cardboard apps, and released a software development kit to spur even more VR app creation.
For a project that took mere weeks to throw together, Cardboard has done surprisingly well. But its success also puts it in an awkward position, somewhere between the oddball project that Cardboard appeared to be back in June and the serious business that prompted Facebooks $2 billion acquisition of Oculus VR in February. As virtual reality matures, is Cardboard prepared to mature with it?