Google Cardboard might be considered just about the most bare-bones way to experience 360-degree videos and virtual reality, but because of its low price and compatibility with a number of smartphones, it’s the way many people are getting their first taste of those immersive new entertainment mediums. And while it hasn’t really had much development in the years since its debut, that might be about to change.
Although we don’t know for sure, it seems likely that Google is planning an update of some kind. In a tweet sent out late on September 26, Google stated simply two dates: “29.09.16 – 01.10.16,” followed by a darkened GIF of a Google Cardboard.
— Google UK (@GoogleUK) September 27, 2016
Is that a new design we’re getting our first look of? Is Google going to launch hardware upgrades for existing Cardboards to let users implement positional tracking or motion controllers? While the simplest change would be for Google to come up with a new, more efficient, or sturdier way to mount a user’s smartphone and hold it to their face, since the Google Cardboard is in essence just a housing for a smartphone, any changes to it are not going to be too drastic in terms of the experience.
It’s also somewhat surprising that Google is announcing a Cardboard development in the coming few days, as it has a large press event taking place on October 4, where you would expect any big news, especially about VR, to be debuted. We’re also cautiously optimistic that we’ll hear from Google about its much rumored Daydream platform at some point in the coming weeks, so a combined virtual reality announcement with that would have seemed more likely.
It may be that Google Cardboard is getting its own announcement, though what it will involve is anyone’s guess. A freeze frame and some Photoshop trickery (shown above) reveal the GIF’s background to be some sort of musical recording, though how that is relevant remains to be seen.
Perhaps it will be a software announcement. It was only a couple of weeks ago that the iOS version of Google’s Cardboard Camera application — which makes taking panoramic, VR shots easier — was launched, so perhaps this event will see more cross-platform support.
What would you like to see at this upcoming Cardboard event?