Google I/O attendees were surprised by a mysterious object in their goodies bag that turned out to be a DIY virtual reality headset called Google Cardboard. It was a tongue in cheek effort to taunt Facebook that paid $2 billion to acquire Occulus Rift when users could get an experience for almost free. Now a couple of companies in the US have started selling their versions of the Google Cardboard, The Verge reports.
Dodocase, which is known for making protective cases for mobile devices is selling a Google Cardboard VR Toolkit for as low as $19.95. This kit contains the cardboard sheets, magnet, Velcro and rubber band, and the lenses. For an extra $5, you can also buy an NFC tag. Another company called Knox Labs too is selling a Cardboard toolkit for $18.95 (another $5 for NFC tag). It also claims that there is an aluminum variant in the making which will cost $65.95.
According to Google, the idea behind Google Cardboard is “to experience virtual reality in a simple, fun, and inexpensive way.” It may not be an Oculus Rift killer, and won’t get any company paying $2 billion for it, but it seems to be quite a nifty device.
The functionality is however limited at the moment. Once you download the Chrome Experiments app, you will be able to watch YouTube videos in a theater like environment, check out a new place via Google Street View, see all the photos stored on your phone in 360 degree via Photo Sphere Viewer, and take flyover tours in Google Earth among others.