Samsung’s Gear VR is the ideal entry-level path to virtual reality, using select smartphones as the screen and brains. Google Cardboard might be cheaper and work with more phones, but the Gear VR’s leap in quality is dramatic.
But the company has grander intentions with VR headsets, it seems: at the Samsung Developer Conference 2016 in San Francisco, the head of research and development for software and services confirmed they’re thinking bigger in the space.
“We are working on wireless and dedicated VR devices, not necessarily working with our mobile phone,” said Injong Rhee, according to Variety. He added that the company is working on hand and gesture tracking for next-gen headsets, however it could be a few years before anything is released to the public with those features. “VR is amazing, but the industry is still at its infancy,” he admitted.
Samsung expects the Gear VR to rise in profile this year as headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive drive the higher end of the market – and the release of Minecraft: Gear VR Edition can’t hurt.
Also, Samsung plans to help make VR creation more realistic for average consumers with the Gear 360. The previously revealed camera will release this week, on Friday, 29 April in select countries, with a European price pegged at €350 (R5,720). Prices in other currencies aren’t yet available.
Andrew Dickerson, Samsung’s director of software development, said they’ll release a VR Upload SDK to allow creators to put their content from the Milk VR service into other apps. Also, Gear 360 video creators will be able to add interactive “trigger points,” as seen in the Milk VR drama series “Gone.”
It seems like every major gadget company is working on a VR (or AR) headset these days, with Sony’s PlayStation VR coming out this year and heavyweights like Google and Apple rumoured to be working on their own headsets. As such, it’s no surprise that Samsung is pushing for more, as well, although we’ll be curious to see how the market looks by the time it’s ready for release.