Google has officially said goodbye to Cardboard, its inexpensive gateway to the world of mobile virtual reality. The glasses are no longer available on the company’s online store, reports Android Police. The writing was already on Cardboard’s wall in 2019, when Google announced it was moving to a Open source model that would allow developers to create virtual reality experiences that support the $ 15 headset. At that time he also had abandoned its next-level Daydream View glasses, with Samsung following a similar route, which signaled to many that tech giants are done with smartphone-based virtual reality.
Today’s news is the last reminder of the changes virtual reality has undergone in a few years. Cardboard was launched in 2014, the same year Facebook bought Oculus VR for $ 2 billion. Google’s glasses – along with other so-called stereoscopic viewers for smartphones – opened VR to a wider audience, and in the years that followed, an increasing number of VR experiences were launched by the traditional media, Hollywood and dedicated developers.
Other mainstream headsets followed, including the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR in 2016. And, in 2019, Facebook delivered its first standalone version Oculus Quest VR headset – and even Nintendo went into the act. With so many consumer virtual reality options now available (not to mention the rise of augmented reality) it seems that there is no longer a need for cardboard.
Of course, the inexpensive helmet had its fans: 5 millions people bought it a little over a year after its launch. These users also installed 25 million Cardboard compatible apps during the same period. Therefore, glasses have clearly played their role in the democratization of virtual reality.