Samsung is set to become the next hardware developer to enter the virtual reality market, this time following in the footsteps of Google and pushing for mobile integration. However, unlike its Android partner, Samsung isn’t making its out of cardboard.
First reported by Sammobile, the Samsung Gear VR is a headset mount, that lets you slip your smartphone inside to act as the display. It’s set to be unveiled later this year, so we won’t have concrete details until then, but for now we do have a few leaked details, images and some speculative information.
For starters, we know that the software has been co-developed by Oculus VR, so has the potential to be of a very high standard. We also know that the headset works by leveraging the smartphone’s accelerometer and gyroscope to know where you’re looking, but it won’t be able to do positional tracking as per the Oculus Rift DK2 and Sony’s Morpheus.
Unlike other headsets, the Gear VR will be able to use the smartphone’s camera to take pictures or give you a look at the outside world without removing the headset. To control it and navigate the phone’s interface, you’ll be able to use a small touch pad mounted on the side of the headset.
Cost is expected to be incredibly low, since the main component of a VR headset – the screen – is already accounted for, along with a lot of the sensors it’ll be using. However, it will of course be limited to use with certain smart phones, most likely Samsung’s latest Galaxy handsets.
Software wise, when it debuts later this year, the Samsung Gear VR will work with 360 video players and images, giving you the chance to watch 3D movies, but games are likely to follow. To help developers get a leg up and begin work with the Gear VR as soon as possible, Samsung is expected to release an SDK shortly.
What will be interesting to see, is if Samsung incorporates this headset with other wearable products like its Gear Smartwatch. Theoretically biometric information in a game could be interesting to try out and there’s also the potential for simple motion and gesture controls.
Ultimately we’ll have to wait and see as the first look we’ll get of the Gear VR is at the IFA conference in Berlin, in September this year.