Tags: samsung | gear | vr | virtual | reality | goggles

Samsung Gear VR Hits Shelves: Virtual Reality Goggles Pair to Smartphone

Image: Samsung Gear VR Hits Shelves: Virtual Reality Goggles Pair to Smartphone
In this November 12, 2014 file photo Samsung's virtual reality headset smartphone is being introduced at the Samsung Developer Conference in San Fransisco, California. (TONHAP/EPA/Landov)

By    |   Tuesday, 09 Dec 2014 09:12 AM

The Samsung Gear VR headset, the first high-profile virtual reality device available to consumers in years, went on sale Monday, signaling a potential gold-rush revival in the technology.

Engadget reported that the new device retails for $199, and requires that users have a new Samsung Note 4 to slip into the front of the goggles, which acts as the viewing screen. The headset itself has a touchpad for navigating menus, games, and more, as well as a volume key and back button.

Since the early days of science fiction — and later, personal computers — achieving a truly immersive virtual reality experience has been a dream of tech enthusiasts everywhere. With each passing decade, however, failed attempts to build such an experience accessible by everyday consumers with average-sized paychecks has remained elusive.

After Facebook purchased virtual reality startup Oculus in March for roughly $2 billion, however, the tech community once again turned their focus to VR. Mobile technology has exploded in just the last 10 years, so maybe this time around we might have a real shot at designing and manufacturing a mass-market VR headset, the thinking went.

The new Samsung Gear VR is the first of at least three headsets currently being designed by big technology companies to hit store shelves. Sony has announced plans for a headset, as has Oculus. In fact, the new Samsung Gear VR was created in collaboration with Oculus, which provided the software for the headset. In the long run, Oculus and Samsung may be competitors, but the VR reawakening is still nascent, and companies are content to form partnerships to see the technology get off the ground.

"Both Oculus and Samsung are investing in this in the long run, which means we want to make sure we get this right," head of Oculus mobile Max Cohen explained to TechCrunch. He said that VR, and the Samsung Gear VR specifically, is mostly for early adopters right now, and that the companies will rely on consumer feedback for the creation of future headsets.

"Could we tweak the marketing message and ship more units today? Sure. Could we throw some more advertising dollars at this and get this in the hands of more consumers? Sure. But that’s not what the goal of Gear VR is right now, and Samsung and Oculus are aligned in that we want to deliver a great experience for the right audience right now, as opposed to just an experience for a huge audience."



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The Samsung Gear VR headset, the first high-profile virtual reality device available to consumers in years, went on sale Monday, signaling a potential gold-rush revival in the technology.
samsung, gear, vr, virtual, reality, goggles
413
2014-12-09
Tuesday, 09 Dec 2014 09:12 AM
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