— The Boxed India (@TheBoxed_India) August 14, 2014
Samsung is expected to unveil a VR headset at this year’s IFA technology fair in Berlin. How will this VR headset stack up against the competition? Here’s what you need to know.
1. Samsung’s Gear VR Headset Is Expected to Debut Next Month
— Tech News (@TechNew25078836) July 8, 2014
The press is expected to get its first look at Samsung’s VR headset at the IFA technology fair in Berlin. The press previews for IFA start on September 3, with the main IFA event running from September 5 through 10. Samsung is also expected to launch a new smartwatch, the Gear Solo, and an updated Galaxy Note smartphone during the same window.
2. The Software Behind Samsung’s VR Headset Was Designed by Oculus VR
According to Engadget, Samsung didn’t work alone to create their VR headset. While the hardware is being built by Samsung, the software the Gear VR headset runs on was actually designed by Oculus VR. Earlier this year, Facebook purchased Oculus VR in a deal that consisted of $400 million in cash and 23.1 million Facebook shares.
3. Gear VR Is Expected to Focus on Media Consumption
Watch YouTube star jacksepticeye play the Oculus Rift game Don’t Let Go in the video above.
While many VR headsets focus on gaming, that may not be the case with Samsung’s Gear VR headset. Here’s the Verge‘s take on how consumers will use the Gear VR:
“To help prevent disorientation, Samsung will reportedly offer users a view of the outside world when they need it by tapping into the rear camera on Galaxy smartphones. A built-in touchpad will also allow wearers to control the Gear VR’s software, though SamMobile doesn’t have any images of what Samsung has in the works there. Oculus is said to be responsible for creating the device’s user interface, but rather than gaming, Samsung is purportedly putting a focus on media consumption with its entry into the world of VR.”
In a phone interview with Jordan Edelson, CEO and founder of Appetizer Mobile, Edelson shared some thoughts about how Samsung might implement media content in their VR interface:
“Historically, what’s Samsung has done is create an interface to wrap around media content. They create an ecosystem for users to get content within a system. Virtual experience apps might put you in a virtual movie theatre environment, possibly with interactive elements. The interface might support voice integration navigation.”
Edelson’s predictions about a virtual theatre environment mesh well with a report from Android Central, which reports that the Gear VR will include core apps such as VR Panorama and VR Cinema.
Edelson added that the VR headset is likely to draw on accelerometer data from your smartphone. It’s also possible that Samsung could release a gaming wristband that would allow for hand controls or motion tracking. Samsung’s existing line of wearables could also get future updates to support this kind of functionality.
4. The Gear VR Annoucement Comes Just Ahead of Oculus Connect
Oculus Connect, the first-ever development conference for Oculus VR technology, is scheduled to begin on September 19. If Gear VR shows up as expected at Berlin IFA, then developers could have a chance to mess around with Samsung’s new VR headset just a few weeks later. According to the Oculus Connect site, tickets will cost $249.
5. VR Is a Trend That Isn’t Going Away
This holiday season could generate a lot of interest in the VR industry. Between the Samsung VR headset, the existing Oculus Rift kit, and Sony’s upcoming Project Morpheus headset, 2014 and 2015 are shaping up to be big growth years for the industry as VR technology continues to mature. Here are some thoughts from Edelson regarding what VR fans can expect next:
“You’ll be able to pair your device with the VR headset. You’re looking at devices now that are wired to some extent, but in the future there will be more Bluetooth or Wi-Fi pairing with devices. In the future, smartwatch pairing to the VR headset will also be possible. There are also companies that are coming out with round treadmills for use with VR headsets. You can walk in multiple directions and track your VR position. These are due out in February, but can be pre-ordered now.
One such VR treadmill company is Virtuix Omni. While VR headsets may be too expensive or unpolished for some shoppers, it’s safe to say that more than a few households will have a VR headset under the Christmas tree this year.