Google “Jumps” Deeper Into Virtual Reality

Google has announced a new version of its smartphone-powered virtual reality viewer Cardboard, adding support for iOS devices as well as phones with bigger screens. The latest Cardboard design will fit larger phones, up to 6 inches, and it’s gotten rid of the magnet controller, replacing it with a cardboard input button that will work with every phone. It is also much easier to assemble. In addition, an accompanying Cardboard virtual reality app for iOS will also be made available soon to broaden Cardboard’s accessibility.

Moreover, Google is also determined to push VR technology into the mainstream with a new open-sourced “Jump” VR platform that aims to facilitate and assist users in creating VR content. It also teamed up with action camera maker GoPro to develop a crazy-looking 16-camera rig for easier 360-video shooting.’

With other more polished VR headsets, such as Facebook’s Oculus and Samsung Gear, readying for consumer market, Google seems to be more focused on VR content rather than the hardware, which is a smart strategy for Google to ensure its place in the nascent VR market. Altogether, these new offerings will make producing live action VR content much cheaper and the confirmation that YouTube will stream spherical video will make its jump to the mass market happen sooner than later.