Fri. Mar 24th, 2023
The Gear VR.  The brown strip on the front is the side of a Note 4

The Gear VR. The brown strip on the front is the side of a Note 4

For virtual reality fans, it was an excruciating wait for Oculus to release a commercial version of the Rift headset that was first shown as a prototype in May 2012. Given that, it’s a bit surprising that the first version of the Oculus-powered Samsung Gear VR is officially “scheduled for early December” after being unveiled just over two months ago.

The “Innovator Edition” of the Gear VR headset starts at $199, Oculus announced this week, or comes in a $249 bundle with a Bluetooth gamepad. Of course, that price doesn’t include the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, the only cell phone that works with the device, which costs about $800 without subsidy and unlocks on its own.

Oculus says the Innovator Edition is akin to a Rift Developer Kit, intended to “give developers and enthusiasts everything they need to build and experiment with the platform before the hardware and software are ready for consumers.” However, Samsung appears to be marketing the device more directly as a consumer-facing product, with a splashy pre-order page encouraging customers to “see the difference” in an “unparalleled 360° virtual reality viewing experience”.

Several dozen games and apps have already been announced for the Gear VR, including built-in apps for viewing movies and photos. All that software will be offered to users for free for at least a few months as Oculus completes the payment system for its closed Oculus Store platform, which is the only way developers can distribute apps for Gear VR.

We had some extensive hands-on time with the Gear VR at the Oculus Connect conference in September and were impressed with the comfort and reliability of the device, despite the lack of robust positional tracking.

By akfire1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.