Virtual reality is the new craze in the gaming and tech world, and now an unexpected VR challenger may launch sooner than anyone expected.
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According to a report from SamMobile.com, Samsung will announce and launch its own virtual reality headset—the Gear VR, the same branding as the rest of Samsung’s wearable computing—at the IFA 2014 trade show in September.
This comes one month after reports of a Samsung VR project surfaced, stating that South Korean tech giant was hurrying to beat Oculus VR/Facebook and Sony's Project Morpheus to market.
Samsung’s virtual reality technology sounds remarkably like Google's quirky Cardboard VR headset, though it’s not a do-it-yourself gadget.
Unlike the stand-alone Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus, the Gear VR utilizes Samsung smartphones for its screen, docking into the headset via USB 3.0.
The headset includes a small window for the rear-facing camera, allowing users to stream the real world back to them making it less necessary to remove the headset.
Perhaps most interestingly, while Samsung is designing the hardware itself, they’re working with Oculus VR to develop the software. That’s an interesting partnership since Samsung and Oculus look a lot more like competitors than collaborators following this news.
Then again, there is likely more to the story, quite possibly having to do with screens—quite possibly the most crucial component of the Oculus Rift and a product Samsung makes in abundance both for its own products and the products of its competitors like Apple.
It’s really not surprising that mobile solutions like Cardboard from Google and Gear VR from Samsung would ship before the more elaborate (and one expects much more expensive) offerings from Oculus and Sony. It’s certainly interesting to watch the virtual reality arms race take off with such gusto.
How mobile-based virtual reality solutions, including apps and games, will compare to what we’ll see on consoles and PC is another question. Either way, unless everyone is very much mistaken, VR is here….or very nearly.
Samsung will apparently unveil the Gear VR alongside the Galaxy Note 4.
I’ve reached out to Samsung for comment on this report and will update accordingly.