NEWS: Google Patent Points Way to new VR Packs

27-03-2017

A recently published Google’s patent application describes an ‘Integrated mobile device packaging and virtual reality headset’. The concept is to provide a ‘relatively low cost’ VR headset solution by shipping the smartphone in packaging that doubles as a VR viewer, according to a recent article in Road to VR.

Google introduced Cardboard, their VR solution in 2014, producing a VR viewer enclosure for smartphones made from Cardboard. Since then, over 10 million Cardboard viewers have been distributed, along with many similar products, mostly free, as promotional items. Google’s patent describes integrating an enclosure similar to that of Cardboard as a novel packaging solution for a smartphone, an especially interesting idea given that the much improved VR performance that comes with ‘Daydream Ready’ phones can also extend to VR apps made for Google Cardboard.

A Cardboard-like headset that is included with capable smartphones could act as a ‘VR lite’ option, says the article, with those especially interested in VR able to upgrade to a more capable VR viewer like Google’s Daydream View. Such an approach could help the company achieve their goal of ‘hundreds of millions of users in a couple of years’ using VR on Android.

Other companies have experimented with integrating a VR viewer into packaging, such as Coca-Cola’s DIY viewer made from 12-pack boxes, and McDonald’s ‘Happy Goggles’ made from a Happy Meal box.

Originally filed on February 24th 2016, Google’s patent refers to cardboard or heavy paper stock for the main portions of the unit, and ‘glue’ and ‘tape’ are suggested several times as appropriate adhesive material. The Road to VR speculates this patent may be related to a Google’s recent hiring spree for Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality hardware expertise, pointing to significant new AR/VR hardware on the way from the company.