Mobile VR companies are practically giving headsets away in order to kick start their ecosystems. Gear VR is often bundled with new Samsung smartphones, and Google’s Daydream came free with anyone that pre-ordered a Pixel phone. But this new patent from the latter company reveals perhaps the most ingenious way to get VR into people’s hands yet.
The patent, published last month and discovered by TechRadar, details a box for a new smartphone that doubles as a VR headset. It’s got a pair of lenses embedded inside the box along with space for your nose. It opens on a hinge, so the first time you open it you’ll find your phone ready and waiting inside, and then you’ll place it back there every time you want to access VR.
It sounds very similar to Google’s Cardboard concept, which was born on the idea of making a VR device out of every day materials. We’d like think the sturdy cardboard that phone boxes are usually made out of could make for a better experience than a DIY kit, though. And if Google shipped its phone with a Daydream remote too then these could be the most accessible Daydream VR devices yet.
It’s hard to think of a much better way to get mobile VR into people’s hands than to make it a part of the packaging that a new phone comes in. Imagine a future where you don’t have to opt into getting a VR headset as part of a bundle, it just comes as part of what you ordered. Even without this idea, Cardboard has done incredibly well, shifting over 10 million units in its lifetime thus far.
Of course, we have no idea if Google would ever actually employ this idea even if it does have the patent.