Look out Samsung Gear VR, Google CardboardGoogle Cardboard is reported to be working on its second generation with more updated features and compatibility. Virtual reality is a growing field and has many technology corporations thinking that the next best seller will be in this category. Companies like Samsung are bringing the technology that once only seemed like a thing of the future right to your home and it's as simple as using your smartphone to get everything hooked up. Although Samsung has had a cooler presence as far as bringing VR to a headset near you along with models like Oculus Rift, Google is gaining traction in this arena.
Many other designers work with this department to create new and different models to bring to customers who may be looking for something a little more affordable or compatible with their smartphones. One of my favorite options is a viewer that is sold by Mattel and looks like the view-master I had as a kid. These are definitely more economic for buyers and come with a ton of options for content. Because of this variety of viewers, Google Cardboard actually works with several models of smartphones, as opposed to Gear VR which only operates with Samsung phones like the Galaxy S6.
So what is the cost of these experiences? Google Cardboard is by far the winner on take home virtual reality technology. A simple headset that you put together yourself costs just around $12.00 and there are a few other options available if you want to upgrade to a $25 model. But compare those prices to the $99 list price for the Gear VR headset and you're taking home a steal. Google has an advantage being cheaper and more compatible. And consumers are wondering what's next. Just last month, the company announced that its annual Google I/O will take place in California on May 18 through the 20th and there are expected to be a couple of reveals, a second generation of Google Cardboard being one of them.
Possible upgrades to the headset could be improved sensors and lenses and possibly a more durable plastic casing. Google reported to have shipped over 5 million headsets since the launch and since many users of Cardboard also view VR through apps compatible with YouTube, they have also reported that over 350,000 hours of video has been watched through virtual reality. Google is trying keep up with the anticipated release of Oculus Rift and Microsoft's HoloLens and certainly seems to be doing so. The Cardboard options will be much more affordable and with some physical upgrades and increasing content available, Google could become a major contender in virtual reality sales.
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