Just as rumours had suggested, Samsung has today revealed its own virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD), the Samsung GearVR. The device was revealed today at the company’s Unpacked event, taking place across Beijing, New York and Berlin. The event takes place ahead of the IFA electronics show in the latter city this month.
GearVR is a smartphone-based VR HMD which runs using the newly-revealed Samsung Galaxy Note 4, an enlarged smartphone that boasts a Quad HD super AMOLED display with a 2.5K resolution. This means that the device runs on the Android operating system (OS), similar to other smartphone-based HMDs such as Altergaze and the Durovis Dive. Users simply slot in the new phone and it acts as a display and computing device for VR experiences.
Crucially, Samsung Gear VR is being produced in partnership with Oculus VR, the creators of the Oculus Rift VR HMD for PC. “We are thrilled to reveal the Gear VR Innovator Edition, a state-of-the-art mobile VR experience powered by Oculus,” said John Carmack, CTO of Oculus. “The deep technical partnership with Samsung has enabled us to create a virtual reality headset with world class resolution and performance, all on a completely mobile platform.” It’s thought that, in return for access to its, Oculus VR uses Samsung’s own displays.
“The Gear VR’s initial release is an ‘Innovator Edition’,” Oculus VR revealed in a blog update following the announcement. “It’s an early-access, beta-version of the device for developers and enthusiasts rather than a final consumer product. Content creators can experiment and build totally new experiences while users explore the bleeding edge of mobile VR as it’s being pioneered.”
Plenty of compatible videogames have been announced following the reveal, including the likes of Gunner from nDreams and Darknet from E McNeill. The device will be available later this year although specific timing and pricing is yet to be announced. VRFocus will continue to follow Gear VR going forward, reporting back with any further updates.