Android phone maker OnePlus is joining the virtual reality (VR) bandwagon with its own take on Google’s Cardboard VR headset. The company announced this week that it will distribute Cardboard-compatible headsets for free. Here’s how the OnePlus website puts it:
“There will come a day in which we will be able to travel the world and experience amazing things without ever leaving the comfort of our homes. OnePlus Cardboard exists to drive this idea forward.”
This makes OnePlus the first mobile phone manufacturer to officially embrace Google’s cardboard initiative. Some of its competitors have decided to align themselves with other players in the VR space instead: Samsung has partnered with Oculus to build its own Gear VR headset, which it has been selling to consumers for $200, and HTC has partnered with Valve to produce the still-unreleased Vive VR headset. Other phone makers are expected to launch their own VR headsets in the coming months as well.
OnePlus improved upon Google’s Cardboard design with a few minor tweaks, but largely stuck to the original idea, likely because it was the cheapest and easiest way for the company to make a move in VR — and reap some promotional benefits: OnePlus will also be using VR to introduce the next version of its flagship phone next month.