Seven years after its exciting 2014 launch, Google has officially discontinued its affordable Cardboard VR goggles. Google Cardboard’s birth and death serve as bookends for the smartphone VR trend, which slowly suffocated under the popularity of cheap standalone headsets like the Oculus Quest and, of course, Google’s waning interest in VR app development.
Fans of Cardboard aren’t surprised to see the device go. In fact, they’re surprised that Google sold the device for so long. Google officially ended Cardboard development and discontinued its premium Daydream headset in 2019, choosing to open-source its VR software for the sake of diehard fans. In recent months, the company has abandoned and open-sourced most of its full-scale VR applications, signaling its disinterest in any VR applications, not just cheap smartphone VR.
We are no longer selling Google Cardboard on the Google Store. We will continue to help the community build new experiences through our Cardboard open source project.
Of course, Google’s knowledge of VR isn’t going to waste. The company is deeply interested in AR and mixed-reality applications, utilizing AR in Maps, the Google Arts and Culture app, and even Google Search.
And while Google’s VR headsets are a thing of the past, you can still enjoy some smartphone VR applications with a 3rd party headset. Just make sure that your phone actually fits into a headset before you buy it—smartphones have grown a lot larger since smartphone VR became a trend in 2014.