Xiaomi finally unveiled its first virtual reality product on Thursday. The Mi VR Play looks like a fancy version of Google’s Cardboard with a premium design and some original new software.
— Hugo Barra (@hbarra) August 4, 2016
Just like Cardboard, the Mi VR Play is powered by a smartphone. It can fit any device with a display size ranging between 4.7 and 5.7 inches. It features a lightweight lycra design with a zipper compartment for holding your smartphone. The company also included a pair of anti-reflective optical lenses, anti-slip grips for keeping the phone in place, and textured metal buttons.
The Mi VR Play comes with two big cutouts in front. Xiaomi says this is so you can easily adjust your smartphone, but it could also allow the phone’s camera to work for augmented reality experiences. As an added bonus, you can also customize the headset’s exterior with various patterns, images and colors.
Xiaomi is also launching a new Mi VR app, suggesting the headset won’t support Google’s Cardboard software or its upcoming Daydream platform. Instead, the Chinese company partnered with a handful of local firms, including YouTube rival YouKu, to provide videos and panoramic images for the device.
We still don’t know when the Mi VR Play will actually launch or how much it will cost, though it sounds like it might only be available in China. The company is currently running a limited beta test and says that over a million people have already signed up to try the new headset.