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Google Aims at Cardboard Compatibility with New Program

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Apr 16, 2015, 3:51 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today debuted the Works with Google Cardboard program, which it says should make it possible for any Cardboard viewer to work well with any Cardboard app. Google first revealed Cardboard last year. Cardboard is a foldable viewer that lets people experience virtual reality when paired with their smartphone. Google quickly realized that the optics involved in creating the viewers aren't necessarily the same, which can lead to incompatibility problems. Google wants Cardboard makers to define their viewer’s key parameters (focal length, input type, inter-lens distance) and to generate a QR code containing those parameters to place on the outside of the viewer. Smartphone owners scan the code, and Cardboard-compatible apps will be able to adjust accordingly to provide a better experience. Google is offering developers a new SDK and refreshed design guidelines in order to help make their apps functional with the broadest range of viewers and phones. For end users, Google said it is changing the visibility of Cardboard apps in the Play Store to make them easier to discover.

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