Just a month after killing Daydream View, a super-impressive virtual reality headset, Google has taken another step away from the smartphone VR category.
The internet giant has announced its plan to open-source the software of its Cardboard DIY VR kit - a move that may have put the final nail in the coffin for phone-based VR experiences.
Here's all about it.
Google Cardboard debuted as an affordable VR solution
Google launched Cardboard as part of an I/O giveaway in 2014 and transformed the viewer into a low-cost solution for experiencing virtual reality.
The company says it has sold 15 million units of the device, which has played an important role in introducing VR - through experiences like YouTube and Expeditions - to people who couldn't have afforded it.
Now, the company is opening Cardboard's software
Despite getting massive early attention for Cardboard, Google says that the overall usage of the device has fallen, except for the cases of entertainment and education.
Now, owing to this, the company is open-sourcing the software of Cardboard, calling the developer community to continue building Cardboard experiences and adding "support to their apps for an ever-increasing diversity of smartphone screen resolutions and configurations."
Here's what Google's Cardboard open-source project offers
"The open-source project provides APIs for head tracking, lens distortion rendering, and input handling," Google said while detailing the open-source project. "We've also included an Android QR code library so that apps can pair any Cardboard viewer without depending on the Cardboard app."
Google says it will contribute to the open-source project
The move to open the software of Cardboard comes shortly after the release of its viewer's technical specifications.
This will eventually help developers build Cardboard apps for iOS/Android and render VR experiences for Cardboard viewers.
Google says it will also continue to contribute to the open-source project with new features, including an SDK package for Unity, but hasn't provided any more details.
Phone-based VR continues to diminish
Google's move marks another departure in the category of phone-based VR after the discontinuation of Daydream View VR and the non-availability of Facebook's Oculus Gear VR.
In all the cases, a decline in usage appears to be the problem, which, according to Google, stems from the limitation of putting a smartphone into the headset for using it.