In their seemingly endless quest to have a product in every area of consumer technology (see: drones, laptops, smartphones, fitness trackers, tablets, headphones, TVs, action-cams, et cetera), Xiaomi have always been curiously late to the VR bandwagon. These days you can’t swing a USB-C cable without hitting a phone-based VR solution, so where have Xiaomi been?

Well, it turns out they’ve been working on the Mi VR Play, and you can think of it as Google Cardboard Plus. Here’s how the company describe it:

Mi VR Play has significantly improved upon the design typically used in similar VR products — it is wrapped in lightweight, durable Lycra for long-lasting comfort. In the future, Mi VR Play will also be available in a selection of bold prints and colours for even more stylish options. The unique two-way zipper helps to ensure compatibility, providing a secure grip on a wide range of 4.7- to 5.7-inch smartphones. At the same time, the dual openings on the front allow for slight positioning adjustments and ventilation.

Content can be had from the Play Store or through Xiaomi’s dedicated VR app, which will host the $1 billion in content they’ve promised to invest in, but the real point of interest is in the price and availability. Or, more specifically, the lack thereof.

The Mi VR Play is available only to a limited number of beta testers, and with over a million already singing up for the “tens of thousands” of places in the programme, landing a headset seems like a long shot. For those lucky few though, the headset will cost just RMB 1, which works out at around 11p.

The company say that in the future the headset will be more widely available, but until then, we’ll just have to be jealous. Oh, and don’t hold on to that price, it’ll likely go up before its official release.

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Ten fingers, five senses, one man, loads of Chinese smartphones.

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