Alongside of the LG G Watch, Google handed out Google Cardboard boxes that contained a VR headset concept at Google I/O. Could this be Google’s next big thing?

Are you jealous of Facebook’s Oculus Rift VR headset, Sony’s Morpheus project, or Samsung’s new virtual reality headset that’s headed to the market at the end of this year? You wouldn’t be alone. Virtual reality is quickly becoming the next important tech trend, as a number of companies are investing in an experience that goes beyond basic touch screen actions. Google’s Project Tango 3D experience is sufficient testimony to the fact that gamers want to go beyond on-screen graphics (no matter how appealing they may be).

Google decided to introduce its own little VR headset to developers at Google I/O 2014 this week. The name? Google Cardboard, a DIY virtual reality headset build that features a rubber band, some plastic pieces, and a magnet. It also comes with some instructional drawings that allow you to see how to fold the cardboard, what to cut, and so on. If you follow the instructions, you’d likely put your own VR headset together in a matter of minutes. The Google Cardboard VR headset may seem to be a laugh at VR technology to some, but Google is offering an SDK for developers – so the cardboard VR headset may be a simple prototype of something Google’s working on for a future release. Even if it is, however, the smartphone you see in the image above isn’t part of the Google Cardboard package, unfortunately.

Google Cardboard is an interesting idea for developers who like to “put things together,” but we realize that most consumers would like something of an official, “tied-with-a-ribbon” VR headset like that of Oculus Rift and Samsung headsets. We sure hope that a Google VR headset will happen sometime down the road – unless Google Glass is in for some serious tech upgrades at some point in the near future. We’ll take either.

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