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Google releases Cardboard Unity SDK in another ‘move away from smartphone VR’

In November, Google Cardboard was open-sourced as the company stopped active development on the affordable, smartphone-based VR platform. As promised, Google today released the Cardboard Unity SDK to continue letting the community develop with the platform.

Google last year released libraries to let developers continue building apps for Android and iOS, as well as render VR experiences on Cardboard viewers. It includes head tracking, lens distortion rendering, and input handling APIs. The company says that developers since then have built a number of experiences that have reached “millions of users around the world.”

This release — available from the Unity Asset Store — comes as “users have long preferred developing Cardboard experiences.” An included sample application helps devs debug issues in their creations.

Today, we’re releasing the Cardboard Unity SDK to our users so that they can continue creating smartphone XR experiences using Unity. Unity is one of the most popular 3D and XR development platforms in the world, and our release of this SDK will give our content creators a smoother workflow with Unity when developing for Cardboard.

Today’s blog post makes clear Google’s “move away from smartphone VR.” The company stopping development on Cardboard follows Google last October no longer selling the Daydream View, with the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL lacking support for the mobile VR platform.

This release not only fulfills a promise we made to our Cardboard community, but also shows our support, as we move away from smartphone VR and leave it in the more-than-capable hands of our development community.

At the moment, Google’s virtual reality efforts are primarily focused on desktop-powered headsets They continue to iterate on Tilt Brush, while Google Earth is another popular experience. Other content creation tools include Blocks and Poly. AR is seeing more active interest from the company through Google Lens and Live View in Maps.

If you’re interested in learning how to develop with the Cardboard open source project, please see our developer documentation or visit the Google VR GitHub repo to access source code, build the project, and download the latest release.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: