Virtual reality for all. That's Google's thinking. The company announced the second iteration of its Cardboard virtual reality headset at its annual I/O developer conference.
The screens on our phones are getting bigger and Google has taken notice. That's why Google Cardboard 2 will now support phones with screens up to 6 inches. But that's not all, Google Cardboard will now officially support iOS (there was previously a workaround for limited iOS support).
Google previously unveiled its virtual-reality ambitions at last year's press event. Google Cardboard was well received as a cheap alternative for getting started with virtual reality. While the original headset wasn't particularly difficult to assemble, Clay Bavor, vice president of Product Management at Google, noted that Google Cardboard 2 will be even easier to put together, requiring only three steps.
One key difference in Cardboard 2 will be the replacement of the magnet ring, which was previously used to navigate the Cardboard interface and was a source of frustration for many users. The ring didn't work properly with some devices and other times it would simply fall off, as was the case with our model. The new headset adds a button, which is also made out of cardboard, that is said to work "with all devices" and will make navigating the Cardboard interface even easier.
Google also announced plans to bring virtual reality into the classroom. The company's Expeditions project lets teachers take their classes on virtual field trips to anywhere in the world. Teachers will get Cardboard devices and phones for the entire class. The teacher picks a location, which will be shared with the students' Cardboard headsets, and guides the class on the trip.
Google Cardboard 2 designs will be available from a variety of third-party partners with prices between $15 and $30 in the US, or about £15 in the UK and AU$25 in Australia. The Google Cardboard app for iOS can be download here and the Android version here. You can find a list of compatible Cardboard apps on Android in the Google Play Store.