In May, rumors arose that Samsung was cooperating with Oculus VR, the developer of the Rift virtual reality headset, on a VR device of its own. Today, images of the device have leaked, SamMobile reports.
Called Gear VR, the headset may be announced at Samsung's IFA 2014 conference at the same time as the Note 4 tablet. The report and image support the original May rumors, including the fact that the headset will simply use a Samsung galaxy phone as a screen. A phone slots into the headset and docks via USB, then VR software utilizes the phone's built-in accelerometer, gyroscope, and processor to track a user's head.
The headset is being made exclusively by Samsung, but the software is being co-developed by Oculus VR. In a sense, this device has a similar goal to Google Cardboard, the ultra-cheap VR solution using cardboard and a smartphone that Google introduced at its developer's conference in June. But the Gear VR improves dramatically on that design by making it much more comfortable to wear, and by adding an augmented reality button. In other words, you can press a button on the outside of the headset to activate the rear camera on the phone and see your surroundings.
According to the report, Samsung is focusing on media at launch, with some theater and gallery apps to be compatible with the headset and software. But the company will be opening up the kit to developers soon after the headset's release.
This rumor follows last month's report that Oculus VR is looking for manufacturing and hardware partners, licensing out its software because it does not have the infrastructure to make enough headsets. The Samsung headset seems to be the first of such partnerships.
If real, the Gear VR joins the Oculus Rift for PC and Sony's Project Morpheus headset for PlayStation 4 among the newest wave of virtual reality headsets. Are you intrigued by the accessibility and price point of the Gear VR, or do you still find yourself more interested by the expensive but dedicated Rift and Morpheus headsets? Let us know in the comments!
|Alex Newhouse is an editorial intern at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @alexbnewhouse|
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