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Google Cardboard

Posted on 18 December 2014

Google is known for being a first mover into up-and-coming industries. Right now, that is the world of virtual reality. Virtual reality is taking off, there are no clear leaders in the market yet but there are lots of new and exciting players.

Since the launch of Google Cardboard back in June 2014, there has been tremendous growth in the mobile virtual reality market. Google recently announced that they have already sold well over 500,000 Cardboard units. Kzero projects that the VR hardware market (which includes VR headsets) will have revenues worth $2.3 billion by 2018. Google has acknowledged this market potential, and looks like they are preparing to take ahold of the majority market share. How do we know this? Take a look at the most recent developments in the Cardboard arena.

First, the firm hand-picked apps to be featured in a special section of the Google Play store. These VR apps are all natively built for Google Cardboard, to ensure a great user experience. Why would Google do this? They know they have a great product that is accessible to a wide audience, and want to increase the exposure of the VR market.

Google has now also given developers access to SDK's for both Android and Unity. More access equals more games. In addition, the specs for building headsets have now been released to consumers, and outline how to build a Google Cardboard headset with various cutting tools. This will increase the amount of VR headsets in the market and have a significant impact on the rapidly evolving VR industry. And finally, Google has given the most tell-tale clue that they have big plans for Cardboard... job postings in Cardboard and VR.

Google is well positioned to gain majority market share. They have made virtual reality accessible for the highest number of consumers by having such a low price point. This low price point in itself will remove barriers to entry into the VR market, for both developers and players. The lenses on the headset are fixed, but somehow make a great VR experience for the majority of users. Google has even optimized its Cardboard version 1.2 for people who wear glasses. Furthermore, the Cardboard has a magnet trigger for input. It is one of few devices that has an input method.

The Archiact team is looking forward to seeing what Google's plans are for Google Cardboard, and what their next steps will be.

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