Last week indie developer Triangular Pixels revealed an innovative solution to an often overlooked issue with Samsung’s Gear VR smartphone-based virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD). The team showcased a companion app of sorts for its upcoming VR videogame, Smash Hit Plunder, which relayed information from the title running on Gear VR to another monitor so that those not using the HMD could get a sense of what the player was experiencing. It seems like an effective, albeit unofficial workaround for a small issue that many fans hadn’t considered. Now Samsung itself has revealed how developers and players can mirror Gear VR content to another display.
Samsung Research America’s Alex Chu, who hosted one of the many VR-based sessions at this month’s Samsung Developer Conference in San Francisco, California, has revealed that Samsung itself uses the most recent version of the company’s AllShare Cast Dongle to mirror content. The dongle connects to any HMDI display and then mirrors the display of the given smartphone – in this case the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 – onto that screen. Similar concepts can be seen in the likes of Google Chromecast. This initiative was first intended for use with standard mobile videogames and video content. Chu warns that “Your app needs to run well, or it will stutter.”
The AllShare Cast Dongle can be found for around £55 GBP online, so may be worth the consideration of other developers. Take note though that official descriptions of the product don’t list compatibility with the Galaxy Note 4 smartphone, though this could simply be down to the dongle’s release taking place long before the smartphone’s. This could be an ideal solution for those looking to demo their Gear VR titles at future events or whenever using the device in a room with more than one person, with others being able to at least get a sense of what the player is experiencing.
Gear VR is set to launch in early December 2014 in the US, starting at $199 USD. Launch details for other countries are yet to be revealed. The kit will release as an Innovator Edition aimed at early adopters and developers. VRFocus will continue to follow the device, reporting back with any further updates on it.