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Google has big plans for Cardboard, as it ships over 500,000 headsets

Google has released a new Cardboard virtual reality SDK for Android and the Unity game engine, along with a dedicated app section in the Play Store and new production guidelines.

Published onDecember 11, 2014

Google Cardboard

Cardboard was one of the more surprising announcements at this year’s Google I/O. Although initially more of a proof of concept than a retail product, Google has announced that over half a million of the inexpensive virtual reality headsets have been shipped since the unveiling.

To spur on more active development on Google’s virtual reality platform, the company has just released new SDKs for Android and the Unity game engine. The Android SDK manages lens-distortion correction, head-tracking, and rendering for those who develop on OpenGL. Developers who prefer Unity can now install the Cardboard SDK and adapt existing or new 3D projects for Cardboard.The aim is to make development easier by having the more technical details of VR handled automatically.

The SDKs simplify common VR development tasks so you can focus on your awesome, immersive app. – Andrew Nartker, Product Manager for Cardboard

Google’s renovations to the platform don’t stop there. Cardboard apps now have a dedicated page on the Google Play Store, which will assist developers and consumers in publishing and finding dedicated VR apps.

Production of new Cardboard headset is set for a shake-up too. Google is releasing a new set of specifications designed for a variety of cutting tools, suitable for either private or commercial use, and will also be releasing tools so that builders can calibrate the headset depending on the viewer’s base and focal length, allowing for a better viewing experience.

Google is also hiring developers specifically for Cardboard, suggesting that new features, or perhaps even a new VR product, could be on the way in the future. Cardboard has some major competition in the Oculus Rift and the newly released $200 Samsung Gear VR, but this announcement goes to show that Google’s inexpensive VR project is starting to become a serious investment for the tech giant.

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