January 27, 2016 / 5:13 PM / 2 years ago

Google ships five million Cardboard virtual reality devices

A conference attendee looks through "Cardboard," a viewer that enables the user to view content from a smart phone in 3D, during the Google I/O developers conference in San Francisco, California May 28, 2015. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

(Reuters) - Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google said it had shipped 5 million units of the Google Cardboard viewer, a wearable device that allows users to experience virtual reality through mobile apps.

The company, which launched the Cardboard viewer a year and a half earlier, said on Wednesday that there had been 25 million downloads of Cardboard apps from its Google Play app store. (bit.ly/1QDitxS)

Google has been exploring virtual reality for a while but the company dived into the concept this month by setting up a new division for virtual reality computing.

Oculus, the virtual reality company Facebook Inc (FB.O) bought in 2014, started accepting pre-orders this month for its much-awaited headset, Rift, which will ship in first quarter.

Google said in November that its video-sharing site, YouTube, supported virtual reality videos.

Viewers can watch virtual reality videos using a mobile device and the Google Cardboard viewer.

Google said more than 350,000 hours of YouTube videos had been watched in virtual reality.

Reporting by Kshitiz Goliya in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey

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