VR is slowly becoming the “next big thing” with the company behind the Oculus Rift being purchased by Facebook, Sony working on their own VR headset, Project Morpheus, Google creating a VR headset out of cardboard, and now Samsung are taking a stab at the world of VR and this is what it could look like according to a report from SamMobile who’s managed to grab a press render of the device.
Reportedly called the GearVR (I mean, why not), this new virtual reality headset is expected to be announced, alongside the Galaxy Note 4, at IFA 2014. SamMobile, who have leaked correct information in the past regarding Samsung products, say that the GearVR is being developed in collaboration with Facebook’s Oculus VR, and will offer the same sort of functionality as Google’s Cardboard VR headset.
The GearVR isn’t a standalone headset. What it actually is, is a wearable dock where the user slots their Galaxy device into the headset using USB 3.o, which allows the user to control the device using the GearVR’s touch pad and button. The GearVR’s virtual reality effect, according to SamMobile, is achieved through head tracking, making use of the smartphone’s accelerometer, gyroscope and processing power to track head motion.
What that could mean is that Samsung could market their GearVR headset at a fairly affordable price considering most of the tech for the VR comes via the users phone, but this is pretty unlikely, it’s Samsung after all.
On the GearVR itself, there’s two main functions. One is a transparent, see-through button which SamMobile say will use the smartphones rear facing camera to give the GearVR user the ability to switch from VR mode, to outside mode to see a camera feed of the outside world. This would save the user repeatedly taking the headset on and off again like with other VR headsets. The second function is the touch pad located on the side of the GearVR, this gives the user the chance to control their Galaxy device without having to remove the phone from the headset.
According to the report Samsung are working on the hardware themselves, but the software is being worked on in partnership with Oculus VR, the company behind the Oculus Rift headset. Once announced Samsung will be dedicating a category of apps for the GearVR like they have with the Gear smartwatches, and will be releasing a GearVR SDK around the time of the announcement.
IFA 2014, where Samsung are reportedly unveiling the device, is being held in Berlin on September 5-10. So we only have around three months to wait in order to see whether Samsung makes the GearVR a reality.