During last months Google I/O conference, a new product was presented called Google Cardboard. It isn’t really a product, instead more of an open source experiment that both showcases how a smartphone can open up an immersive world, and a shot at the Oculus Rift business.
Lets talk about the Rift, a technology that was purchased by Facebook and their founder Mark Zuckerberg for $2 Billion, with the goal of bringing immersive viewing technology to our homes. The Rift is a head based wearable that displays an output from a PC on a screen giving the user a 180 degree view. It incorporates an accelerometer so when the head moves, the video changes. It has wires, and the unit is heavy.
Cardboard is a box, with an area to slip in a smartphone. It contains 2 plastic lenses that focus the users eyes on the phone which displays a split screen (left and right eye) creating the illusion of depth.
Rift is heavy, clunky, low resolution and costs $350 US. Cardboard has far less weight, hard to damage (its cardboard), and provides a high resolution experience. It costs less than $10 (Smartphone not included). You can even download the blueprints here at build it for next to nothing – https://developers.google.com/cardboard/
Id be surprised if someone at Facebook who put the business case together for Rift is out of a job. Cardboard is the ultimate MVP.