VR is going to be the next big thing, and you can play with it now using your phone to power a headset. Merge VR has a high quality option for folks looking to flirt with VR. Let’s take it for a spin!
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Google continues to move forward with cardboard, bringing some really fun features to the low budget VR platform which uses your phone and an inexpensive cradle (often made out of cardboard) to surround you with immersive content.
The newest update to the Android Youtube app builds in native support for Google Cardboard. Now when you fire up a 360 degree video, a small cardboard icon will appear on the overlay. Tapping on that icon will split the screen automatically for stereo view through the VR headset of your choice.
Hitting the switch built into Cardboard viewers will pause the video, and moving your head along a timeline will let you fast forward or rewind the video. Very handy controls as you wont be able to touch the screen.
It’s a super fun feature to bring to the Android ecosystem, tying together the new Youtube 360 rollout and the improved developer tools for Cardboard. You can try it out with a video below, which we shot using the Kodak SP360, driving around Hollywood.
The Youtube app update should be rolling out to devices soon, or if you’re impatient you can grab it from APK Mirror and install it manually.
It sounded like a joke at first. Google built a template that allowed users to cut out a cardboard headset which turned their phone into a Virtual Reality display.
What started off as a proof of concept for VR applications on mobile devices, has exploded as it’s one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to try out VR content. App developers are paying attention as there’s a growing list of services being developed for VR with Google Cardboard in mind. While you can create your own headset using Google’s template, there are also a number of companies building pre-assembled headsets out of cardboard or plastic. Even the Viewmaster will be returning this Fall as a Cardboard inspired VR experience.
With a growing community, it would only make sense that Google would continue investing in this project, and they’ve now announced a “Works With Cardboard” program for better hardware and software compatibility moving forward.
Developers will receive better tools for migrating existing apps and services into a VR environment, Manufacturers will get a new tool which helps customers automatically configure the app for different hardware builds, and consumers will have access to a better organized app store experience.
It’s a very positive development to see Google taking this sector seriously, as VR is primed to be a hot industry as Oculus, Razer, Samsung, and HTC are all moving to get solutions into consumer’s hands. Google is betting on your first taste of VR coming from the (Android) phone you already own.
We’ve seen a few companies build out variations on Google’s “inexpensive” solution for using a phone as a VR screen.
Based on that template however, LG will be building a plastic rig, designed specifically for the G3, and if you’re looking to buy LG’s current QHD screened flagship smartphone, chances are you can score a headset for free. We don’t have details yet on how or when LG might start shipping, but you can read their full press release below for more info!
During Google I/O this year, one of the biggest hits actually came by way of an inexpensive cardboard shell. Like when you buy a kid an expensive toy and they’d rather play with the packaging…
Google Cardboard is designed for developers to start inexpensively developing apps for 3D and VR. A cardboard shell sets up like an old Viewmaster toy, and it uses your phone screen as the display. It might look a bit silly, but what was demonstrated at I/O was actually quite sophisticated, with magnets for orientation and NFC tags inside to launch the special split-screen mode for your phone.
Now you can also buy a pre-cut kit from a company called Smart Exhibits on Amazon. If you don’t want to bother with all that cardboard slicing, they have you covered for $10. Though you’ll have to supply your own magnets, lenses, and NFC tags…