This year we’re expecting powerful, expensive virtual reality devices like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Sony PlayStation VR to hit the streets. But Google started to bring VR experiences into the mainstream nearly two years ago by introducing Google Cardboard: a cheap, DIY headset that uses your smartphone as a screen.

Now the Financial Times reports Google is getting ready to launch a next-gen version, featuring improved lenses, better sensors, and a case made of plastic rather than cardboard.

cardboard

Google wouldn’t be the first company to take this approach. Samsung’s Gear VR is basically a Cardboard-like headset designed for the company’s Galaxy smartphones. And plenty of other companies have created third-party Cardboard-style headsets with plastic cases… like Mattel’s View-Master VR.

According to the Financial Times, like Google Cardboard, the new plastic headset design will support a wide range of smartphones, which could make it an option for folks who don’t have a Samsung phone… and who want something a little sturdier than cardboard.

Google is also said to be working on something called Android VR, which will more tightly integrate virtual reality technology into Google’s mobile operating system to offer smoother, higher resolution video with reduced latency. Right now you have to run third-party apps on top of Android to use Cardboard.

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