It was during Google I/O 2014 that the Internet giant introduced us to Google Cardboard, a low-cost and accessible virtual reality headset that was designed to help get virtual reality off the ground and now, Google have learnt enough to change how Android approaches Virtual Reality. Google announced Daydream earlier today during I/O 16 and we've covered the main announcement of this earlier on, but where Cardboard is concerned, it seems to have been something of a success for Google. What was once viewed as a sort of gimmick from Google has blossomed into a thriving platform that has become a small, yet lively part of the Google Play Store.
On stage, Google announced that there have been 50 Million downloads of virtual reality apps for the Cardboard platform from the Play Store. While these might not seem like huge numbers, this is an important step for virtual reality on mobile, and more importantly, it shows developers that there is demand for this sort of thing. It can be hard to remember sometimes but Google I/O is first and foremost an event for developers, and for those that rely on Android to make a living, they need to know that there's a demand for whatever sort of app, game or experience they create. This 50 Million download figure, alongside the news of Google's new VR platform, Daydream, should show developers that virtual reality can be worth their time and money.
Speaking of virtual reality on Android, the new version of Android coming later this summer will make virtual reality apps and games run a little quicker and make the overall experience a lot smoother. For those that were wondering just when Google would start to get serious about virtual reality, it seems that 2016 is the year they do it. The company has clearly learned a lot about virtual reality and what people expect from Android and virtual reality, and have put together a great new package in Daydream, but it sadly won't be available until later this year. We have all the news and announcements from Google I/O on the site and will be continuing to over all aspects for the rest of the week.