Samsung confirmed the rumours of a wearable VR headset at IFA today by unveiling the Gear VR, a virtual reality headset that uses the newly-announced Galaxy Note 4 as its screen. The company has apparently been working with the people behind the Oculus Rift to create the headset, handling the hardware side of things while John Carmack and company does the software and fine-tuning.
In a not particularly surprising move, the entire concept hinges off owning a Note 4, as the headset itself is nothing more than a head strap thing into which a Note 4 slides. It also won’t work with any other phone/phablet.
The version of the headset shown off at IFA is called the “Innovator Edition” because it’s only a prototype unit at this point. Fortunately, prototype or not it should put out some very attractive visuals as the Note 4 has a very nice-sounding screen: a 5.7 inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display that has a resolution of 2 560 x 1 440 pixels that Samsung says creates “stunning and engaging visuals at a mobile-leading resolution”. Yum.
When it launches the Gear VR will ship with a bunch of demos that showcase the possibilities of virtual reality. Samsung also expects it to work with a variety of different technologies in the future, saying the headset will let people access “a wide range of film, gaming, 360 degree video, and educational/experiential content”.
There was no word on the official press release about price, South African availability, any supported games, or what, exactly, the educational/experiential content will entail, but they did say the Gear VR will be out later this year.
That, and the fact that the Gear VR is properly mobile in the truest sense of the word (there are no cables to get in the way) are two things that the gaming-focused Oculus Rift and Sony’s Morpehus VR headsets – the Gear VR’s biggest competitors – can’t beat.
The Verge was lucky enough to get a hands-on with the Gear VR as they’re actually at IFA at the moment, so if this has piqued your interest check out the pretty cool article they posted about it a few hours back for more details.