Google Cardboard: is this some late April Fools joke?

Google Cardboard: It’s A Little Late For April Fools, Isn’t It?

When Google Cardboard was announced yesterday at the I/O developer conference, all I could do was shake my head and wonder if it was for real. Is Google actually serious, or is this their late April Fools joke?

Google has given us some amazing inventions in the past, even upstaging Apple as the most valuable brand. The Android OS gave us a way to do nearly everything iOS can, and it won’t cost you your life savings if you’re not on some kind of free upgrade plan. That hasn’t changed, though some Android devices cost a bit more because of the higher price materials used.

After Apple released their iPad, which at first earned a ton of ridicule because it looked like nothing more than an iPhone with a massive screen, it actually gained an audience due to its increased functionality. Google came back with their own tablet operating system and once again gave us a less expensive alternative.

Google Cardboard is a mostly inexpensive idea, but how is it even practical? Even Google Glass, a device that only the more wealthy even own unless they’re paid to promote it, seems more useful than a piece of cardboard you literally fold around your Android phone.

The Google Wear, a watch which uses the Android OS to perform most of the basic functions of an Android phone at least could be useful. You can get the time, weather updates, and possibly even your Twitter feed just by checking and touching a wrist-mounted device.

What makes the Google Cardboard even more ridiculous is the fact that you still have to buy certain things on the side, like special lenses, magnets, and strips of Velcro, which could rack up a bill you’re not expecting. This looks like something that the YouTube channel Household Hacker might come up with, not a major corporation attempting to compete with the brand that Steve Jobs built.

How do you even do anything with the phone once it’s securely mounted in this ridiculous piece of heavy duty Origami? It’s right next to your eyes so the touch screen is basically unavailable. You’ll probably end up buying a micro USB keyboard or other controller to even use your phone in this contraption.

While the Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus may be onto something with virtual reality headsets, I can’t help wondering if Google just doesn’t want to put any real effort into creating their own.

I guess Google Cardboard is still more real than anything Microsoft has come up with, but how is it even useful?

[image via phandroid, reactionface]