Google Inc officially discontinued its Daydream View VR headset in October, and the search giant took another step away from its initial leadership position, in the phone-based VR today by announcing that it’s open sourcing the software of Cardboard, its no-frills VR headset. The company had already open-sourced the actual Cardboard VR viewer by posting its technical specifications for anyone to download, so it is nice to see Google open up the software as well.
Company also says it’s shipped more than 15 million [Cardboard] units worldwide, but that it’s seen usage of Cardboard decline over time. That doesn’t surprise, sadly, we just don’t think there were many compelling uses for Cardboard, beyond its initial novelty. The memory of playing with a free Cardboard viewer from one of Google’s promotions with The New York Times, and while it was really cool that one time I used it, I haven’t been clamoring for another Cardboard experience since.
Cardboard was introduced in 2014, as one of the first DIY VR kits following projects like the FOV2GO, and also helped kick off years of interest in phone-based VR. Now, although, that trend is officially over with seemingly no way to buy the Oculus’ Gear VR in US and Google discontinuing Daydream. Now that news, Google has open sourced Cardboard, means phone-based VR is extra officially over.
The company says that it will contribute to the Cardboard open source project by adding new features, but beyond committing to adding an SDK package for Unity, Google doesn’t specify what those features might be. If you want to check out the project details, Google has shared the developer documentation and also uploaded the Cardboard SDK to a GitHub repo.