Those who follow the tech industry have caught wind of an especially interesting Google patent application. Filed on February 24, 2016, this application outlines what has been best described as an “integrated mobile device packaging and VR headset”. It appears as though the brainiacs at Google have figured out how to bring an affordable virtual reality headset to the market by shipping a smartphone in packaging that also serves as a virtual reality viewer. Now that is creative.
Google’s VR Progress
Google brought its low-cost virtual reality creation, Cardboard, to market in 2014. This virtual reality viewing enclosure for phones has been purchased by more than 10 million people. The company has also developed a number of other similar VR-related products, some of which have been distributed at no charge. Some have linked the company’s latest hiring spree for virtual reality and augmented reality experts to the intriguing new VR product described in the above referenced patent.
Google’s patent explains that the unit’s primary portions as made of heavy paper or cardboard stock. The document goes on to describe the suggested adhesive material(s) as tape and/or glue. Industry insiders assume the enclosure’s quality will mimic that of the Google Cardboard viewer rather than the Daydream View unit. The patent also mentions the use of fabrics and plastics, making Google’s new VR unit that much more mysterious. The bottom line is that the masses can expect a fun new augmented reality/virtual reality creation from the tech gurus at Google at some point in the near future.
Why Google’s Recent Patent Matters
Google’s latest patent explains the integration of an enclosure that appears to be similar to Cardboard. This enclosure serves as a clever packaging solution for the company’s phone. It is quite the interesting creation considering the fact that the vastly improved virtual reality performance provided by Daydream-ready smartphones is also available on VR apps specifically designed to be used with Google Cardboard.
Think of Google’s new creation as a headset similar to Cardboard that is sent with compatible smartphones, allowing for low-cost virtual reality experiences. It is sort of like a VR lite means of enjoying this breakthrough technology. Those who are interested in virtual reality will likely be able to use the new creation to step on up to a superior virtual reality viewer such as Google’s Daydream View. This strategic angle will push Google toward its aim of having hundreds of millions of users enjoying virtual reality on Android in the next couple of years.
Google Continues to Push Boundaries
What makes Google’s most recent VR-related patent so intriguing is that it represents the type of out-of-the-box thinking and risk-taking that many other companies wouldn’t dare attempt. Hardly any companies have toyed around with the integration of a virtual reality viewer in packaging. The two most prominent examples are McDonald’s Happy Goggles created with Happy Meal packaging and Coca-Cola’s do it yourself style viewer sourced from the company’s 12-pack boxes. It is also worth noting that certain virtual reality headset shells have been provided with smartphones. Then there is Alcatel’s Idol4S packaging that makes use of the shell as a step in the unboxing experience in certain regions of the world.