Google announced on Wednesday about its decision to release the Cardboard open-source project with the intention of making third-party developers add their expertise to the platform.
“Today, we’re releasing the Cardboard open source project to let the developer community continue to build Cardboard experiences and add support to their apps for an ever increasing diversity of smartphone screen resolutions and configurations. We think that an open source model—with additional contributions from us—is the best way for developers to continue to build experiences for Cardboard.” – Jeffrey Chen, Product Manager, AR & VR, Google.
Google had taken up the project of Google Cardboard five years back with the aim of building a VR SDK (named Daydream) that can fit almost every size. However, since last month it became evident that Google would no longer continue with its Daydream project.
Speaking on Google’s plans to open-source Cardboard software and hardware, the post read:
“While we’ve seen overall usage of Cardboard decline over time and we’re no longer actively developing the Google VR SDK, we still see consistent usage around entertainment and education experiences, like YouTube and Expeditions, and want to ensure that Cardboard’s no-frills, accessible-to-everyone approach to VR remains available.”
Google reportedly plans to issue Cardboard-related iOS and Android libraries pertaining to supporting features like head tracking, lens distortion rendering, and input handling. It will also release an Android QR code library to allow viewers to pair with apps without having to use Google’s Cardboard app.
Before this, Google had released manufacturing specifications for the inexpensive headset of Cardboard way back in 2016 in the hopes that it would increase the number of people adopting viewer technology.
At present, Google does not plan to abandon its Cardboard project but instead would assist it by putting in its contributions of new features such as a Unity-ready SDK package.
An open-source model will enable the community to continue to improve Cardboard support and expand its capabilities, for example adding support for new smartphone display configurations and Cardboard viewers as they become available.