Google’s trying to entice developers to build apps for its Cardboard augmented reality project, allowing them to create experiences for Android and iOS devices. The question is whether app developers will catch on to provide experiences in Search.
Opening the code could help to build out a developer network. Google’s Cardboard is seen as one of the most affordable ways to create virtual reality experiences for advertising and marketing.
“We think that an open source model, with additional contributions from us, is the best way for developers to continue to build experiences for Cardboard,” Jeffrey Chen, product manager of augmented and virtual reality at Google, wrote in a post.
The company open sourced the project to enable developers to build Cardboard experiences and add support to their apps to increase the diversity of smartphone screen resolutions and configurations, he wrote.
Google will release libraries for developers to build their Cardboard apps for iOS and Android and render VR experiences on Cardboard viewers.
Chen wrote that Google will continue to contribute to the Cardboard open-source project by releasing new features, including an SDK package for Unity.
The APIs cover basic head tracking, lens distortion rendering, input handling and an Android QR code library, so apps can pair any Cardboard viewer without relying on the Cardboard application.
This is nothing close to the Microsoft HoloLens 2 headset, which just launched. Microsoft’s VR system uses eye tracking and hand movements. The cost for one HoloLens 2 headset is $3,500. Yikes!