After seeing reports that Google is making their own virtual reality unit within the company and putting Clay Bavor in charge of it, Google has announced Spatial Audio for the Google Cardboard SDK. This is a pretty big deal as it is going to make the experience with Cardboard even more immersive, as it brings 3D sound to Cardboard. What this means is that developers will be able to produce sounds the way that humans hear it. Instead of just playing sounds from the left in right in different speakers. Once you try it out in some updated apps for Cardboard, you'll definitely love the changes that this brings to the VR experience. It also will make Google Cardboard a bit more competitive with the more higher-end virtual reality units out there.
So the way this works is, the SDK is combining where your head is, with the position of the sound. Essentially having sounds coming out of the right side, hit your left ear with a small delay. Google also says that Spatial Audio will not impact the primary CPU of your phone, by much. Additionally, the fidelity of each sound can be controlled by the developer in the app. Also the Cardboard SDK allows you to specify the size and material of your virtual environment. This is going to allow users to feel more immersed in virtual reality, no matter what the setting might be. As both the size and material of your virtual environment do contribute to the quality of the sound that should be played.
Google also says that it's pretty easy to get started with the new spatial audio for Cardboard. Native Android developers now have a simple Java API which will work for simulating virtual sounds and environments. Meanwhile, Unity developers have a comprehensive set of components for creating soundscapes in Android, Windows, OS X and iOS. To find out more about the spatial audio addition to the Google Cardboard SDK, head on over to Google's blog post in the Google Developers blog. It'll give you all the information you'll need to know about getting started with spatial audio.