Samsung has unveiled their first virtual reality product, the Gear VR, at IFA 2014 this week. The mobile VR headset will be made in partnership with Oculus, who will work on the software end of the device.
Gear VR is the first official virtual reality product to be released, without any alpha or beta testing, like Oculus and Sony are doing with their headsets. Instead of a built in display, the Gear VR will use the Galaxy Note 4 as the primary display.
The design of the Gear VR is very basic, white and black plastic with a white and black head-brace, to make the headset fit comfortably on the face. The Galaxy Note 4 can be inserted by taking off the transparent plastic module.
This does alienate a big part of the audience who do not own a Galaxy Note 4. We are not sure if Samsung will open the doors to more devices in the future, we suspect the size will matter, which is why the Galaxy Note 4 is the only compatible device at launch.
In early tests at IFA, the Gear VR has trouble pairing with the Galaxy Note 4. The Galaxy Note 4 sometimes doesn’t center as well, allowing small bits of light to enter the headset, distorting the immersion.
Oculus, as we said, will work on the software for the Gear VR. The partnership will bring most of Oculus’ apps to the device and the basic platform, including a virtual store, where users can browse the latest apps for virtual reality.
This is still a barren front, but more apps are being added, as more developers start to understand the potential of virtual reality. Gear VR could be an early access point for people who like the Galaxy Note 4 and want to check out the first apps on VR.
Gear VR will launch sometime in the next few months, before the end of 2014.