A few months after making its Cardboard VR platform open source, Google has quietly ended sales for its Cardboard VR, the inexpensive cardboard-based phone viewers that could be used to experience virtual reality experiences using your own smartphone. The decision to end sales isn’t surprising given Google’s open-source change and the VR industry’s overall evolution.
Google launched Cardboard back in 2014 as an inexpensive way for anyone to get a virtual reality experience — though, compared to newer dedicated alternatives from companies like Oculus, the phone-based headset was very lackluster.
Though the market is still packed with companies selling these simple VR viewers, Google is no longer one of them. As first spied by Android Police, the online Google Store lists the Cardboard VR headset as out of stock with a note that Google is ‘no longer selling’ the product. The product page instead directs users to the open-source project.
The change isn’t at all surprising. Google previously limited Cardboard VR viewer sales to multi-pack bundles rather than individual headsets. Likewise, the company ditched its Daydream View headset more than a year ago, underscoring the fact that phone-based VR experiences are largely a thing of the past.
Ultimately, though, these cheap phone-based viewers remain an excellent option for parents of young kids who don’t want to hand over more expensive PC or standalone VR headsets like the Oculus Quest or HTC Vive models. Third-party sellers continue to offer these inexpensive phone-based viewers that can be used with Google Cardboard apps.