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From Russia With ... Microsoft Company May Have Goal to Tangle With Google CardboardVRJ can’t confirm all the details, but it appears that Microsoft is luring developers to a hackathon in Russia holding the promise of a do-it-yourself virtual-reality headset to challenge Google Cardboard.

We’ve heard of “From Russia With Love” (as every James Bond fan has) … but this news seems even more enticingly dangerous. Without the guns and girls, of course.

“Hackathon participants with successful ideas will be rewarded with one of the headsets to test their VR applications at the event, which is being held in Moscow on October 17,” according to a story at CNET.

There was even reportedly a screen shot of a webpage promoting the event, though the page appears to have since disappeared. CNET notes that “Microsoft didn’t respond to a request for comment.”

What gives?

“Historically, virtual reality has required expensive, dedicated hardware that can do things like track the motions of a person’s head and display 3D imagery,” explains CNET. “But last year’s debut of Google Cardboard, a flat-pack VR kit that uses a smartphone as a display, made the technology easier to try. Users assemble Google’s headset from a few specially cut and folded pieces of cardboard, insert a smartphone that runs Cardboard apps, and hold it to up to their eyes. Phone manufacturers can adapt the template to fit various Android smartphones.”

While it’s not yet clear what product plans, if any, Microsoft has for its own DIY VR headset kit, the Russia angle is titillating.

Why Russia? Why now? What’s up?

We’ll keep you posted. Alas, not from Russia. But with love.

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