Google Cardboard is a handheld viewer you slide your smartphone into and allows you to experience virtual reality via apps and websites that support it. As expensive technologies such as Microsoft’s Hololense and the Oculus Rift emerge, Google Cardboard is a fun, inexpensive way to dip your toe into the VR pool to see if you’re going to be willing to spend hundreds of dollars on those headsets when they begin shipping.
What Is Google Cardboard
In short, Google Cardboard is a player that houses smartphones. It allows you to experience the 360 degree virtual reality world by using apps you can download for free at the Google Play or Apple store. It will likely arrive in your mail as a flat piece of cardboard that you fold into the shape of the player pictured above. Tabs and Velcro lock the entire thing together, and it winds up being a remarkably sturdy device when assembled.
Browse the various Google Cardboard Players here.
While Google created the specs for the player, there are countless manufacturers that make it, and each of them have added their own tweaks. For example, some are slightly larger and some have head straps. Once assembled, you will use your smartphone to scan the QI code on the player and it will automatically adjust the settings for your phone. You will then browse your smartphone’s store and download apps specifically for VR and Google Cardboard.
While many of these apps will be garbage, there are quite a few really good ones, and you should have no problem finding several great apps with amazing environments you can interact with. Virtual Reality is here, and at under $20, Google Cardboard is a fun way to experience it. When searching for a Google Cardboard player, make sure you read the reviews, as some may not support the larger phones, such as the Note 5 and iPhone 6S Plus.