Since its release at last year’s Google I/O, Google Cardboard has seen steady progress, with manufacturers and developers joining the program to help create immersive experiences at a fraction of the usual cost. The Play Store now has hundreds of Cardboard applications, and with the number of viewers increasing, the team has announced a series of measures to ensure optimum viewing experience, design guidelines and SDK updates.
The number of Cardboard viewers is increasing, and they are being made with all kinds of material and come with different optics and dimensions. This might not result in a great experience while working with Cardboard apps. To address this, Cardboard viewer manufacturers have been advised to put a QR code with their devices' key parameters, such as focal length and input type. All the user will need to do is scan this QR code with the Cardboard viewer app, and the viewer will calibrate itself accordingly. Additional manufacturers can also apply for a program certification badge so that users will know the viewer works fine with Cardboard applications.
There are several updates for developers. First up are the SDK updates for both Android and Unity. The SDK update includes improved head tracking and drift correction. The Android release notes mention support for a simple neck model in CardboardView that allows for more natural head rotations. The SDK now also supports the Works with Cardboard program, so developers can be assured that their apps will work well with certified virtual reality viewers.
In order to create the right immersive experiences, Google has published recommended design guidelines that help focus on usability and avoid common VR pitfalls. Publishing the design guidelines is in line with similar processes for both Android smartphone and Wear developers, so that the applications can meet a certain minimum in terms of design.