WebVR and GamePad APIs are Available in Android’s Chrome 56 Beta Channel

WebVR and GamePad APIs are Available in Android’s Chrome 56 Beta Channel

If there’s any technology that best characterizes 2016, it would be Virtual Reality.

Virtual Reality has moved beyond expensive headsets tied to your computer to more affordable solutions that couple with your smartphone. VR content has similarly seen an explosion in availability, and we’re seeing companies working hard to bring VR content to the web thanks to a project called WebVR. At its heart, WebVR is an experimental JavaScript API for a website that can access VR devices such as the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Samsung Gear VR, Google Cardboard and Daydream View. It was first conceived in spring 2014 by Vladimir Vukićević from Mozilla, but the initiative has seen contributions from both Mozilla and Google.


Version 1.0 was introduced back in March of this year, and a month later Samsung announced that WebVR would be supported on their Gear VR headset. Early demos from the Chrome team showed they were able to maintain 90 FPS rendering, demonstrating WebVR’s capability to produce viable VR content. Google has been working to make the service available to the public and states they are on schedule for a release in early 2017 with the stable channel of Chrome 57.

For now though, the API is currently limited to the beta version of Chrome v56. Google just announced that web developers can access the new API by signing up for Origin Trial. Once enabled, you will not only be able to access the WebVR API, but you will also have access to the GamePad API extension as well.

The WebVR API will give developers access to the input and output capabilities of the virtual reality devices mentioned above. The developer will even have access to the device’s position and orientation which can enable web apps to render a stereoscopic 3D scene on the headset’s display. The GamePad API extension is what the developer needs in order to access input from motion controllers so the user can interact with the VR environment. Google reminds us that the WebVR API is still evolving and that we should expect changes based on developer feedback.

Source: Chromium Blog

About author

Doug Lynch
Doug Lynch

When I am passionate about something, I go all in and thrive on having my finger on the pulse of what is happening in that industry. This has transitioned over the years from PCs and video games, but for close to a decade now all of my attention has gone toward smartphones and Android.

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