Surprise! This morning Oculus and Samsung announced a product that has secretly been in the making for over a year. That product is the Samsung Gear VR, the “future of mobile virtual reality.” This isn’t the Oculus Rift though, as this device is VR specifically designed for Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4.
The culmination of that work is Gear VR Innovator Edition, an add-on to the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4, using the phone’s GPU/CPU to power the device and the Quad HD low-persistence 5.7 inch 1440p AMOLED screen as the display. One of the best aspects of mobile VR is the completely untethered, easy-to-use experience: you connect the Note 4 to the headset, you put it on, and you’re in. That level of accessibility, combined with Oculus software to easily launch and transition between VR applications without taking the headset off, really makes the experience magical.
The Gear VR is powered by the new Oculus Mobile SDK, and also uses variations of the Oculus Tracker and firmware built into the headset for extremely accurate, ultra low-latency 3DOF tracking. It’s impossible to deliver a high quality mobile experience without this kind of deep end-to-end hardware, software, and firmware optimization. As a result, we’ve been able to achieve sub-20 millisecond motion-to-photons latency, roughly equivalent to the most highly optimized experiences on DK2.
Like the Oculus Rift, there will be beta versions, with the first edition being the Innovator Edition that will be mainly for developers and beta testers.
In addition to the Gear VR, Oculus also announced four new experiences: Oculus Home, Oculus Cinema, Oculus 360 Videos and Oculus 360 Photos.
- Oculus Home is a simple interface for connecting to the Oculus Store, where you can discover, download, and launch VR content.
- Oculus Cinema is a virtual movie theater, where you can playback your favorite 2D and 3D movies in a variety of theater environments.
- Oculus 360 Videos and Oculus 360 Photos are experiences that allow you to playback panoramic content in VR.