One might say that Google really jump-started the whole VR revolution we’ve seen in the past two years when they announced Cardboard at Google I/O in 2014. Cardboard, is just as it sounds. It’s a virtual reality viewer that is made of cardboard. It’s a really simple virtual reality viewer, and available for a rather low price. Especially when compared to the likes of Samsung’s Gear VR which costs $99, or the HTC Vive which is around $799 itself. Cardboard, however, doesn’t have all the resources that Gear VR or the Vive have, so the experience isn’t as good. Especially when looking at gaming in VR. Cardboard is great for watching 360-degree video though, and there are already plenty of great videos available on YouTube for virtual reality.
Google has a demo app available for Cardboard, which has a slew of different demo videos available to show you what you can expect with Cardboard – not to mention the many other Cardboard apps available on the Play Store right now. This week, Google updated the Cardboard app to version 1.8, and while there’s not much new in terms of Cardboard and its functionality, what is new is a demo included in the app. The demo is dubbed ‘Arctic Journey’ in which you’ll be taking a trip up to the North Pole and will be immersed in 360-degree video. The demo is pretty plain, but it is still pretty unique. It’s not live video or something that was filmed on the North Pole, but it does look pretty freaking cool.
That’s what virtual reality is all about. Immersing you in a place where you may never travel. That’s also what Google has been doing with their Expeditions program for Cardboard. Giving Cardboard to classrooms and allowing kids to go on a “field trip” to a place like The Great Wall in Beijing without even leaving their classroom (and let’s face it, no school could afford to send a class to Beijing). Cardboard may be pretty minimal in functionality, but it’s a great starter VR platform, not only for Google but also for users and developers to get started with VR.