Back in June, Engadget reported that Samsung was currently working on a virtual reality headset, and was hoping to beat Oculus VR (Rift) and Sony (Project Morpheus) to the market. Many developers already have early versions that are powered by flagship Galaxy devices, but according to the report, the final Gear VR consumer version will require next-generation, unannounced tablets and phones.
Note that the headset is not the rumored Galaxy Glass, but a different project altogether. The device has two AMOLED screens rumored to be equal if not better than the second Rift development kit. What’s unclear is how the device connects to smartphones (presumably wired), and if the headset tracks head movement by using an external camera.
The report also states that in addition to hitting the market first, Samsung is also looking to undercut Oculus VR and Sony in price: what the price will be is unknown at this point although the current second-generation Oculus Rift development kit is $350. The report also points out that the headset will focus on Android gaming.
Now SamMobile is reporting that the headgear will be called "Gear VR," and will be introduced alongside the Galaxy Note 4 at the IFA 2014 convention held in Berlin on September 5 to September 10. This headgear allows users to dock in a Galaxy device via a USB 3.0 port, and use the phone’s sensors to track the user’s head movements.
SamMobile reports that Gear VR has a see-through button on the right side which uses the phone’s built-in rear-facing camera to provide video feed of the real world. Under the button is a touchpad for navigating through the user interface located on the Galaxy smartphone.
Because Gear VR will depend on smartphone hardware, the price is expected to be substantially lower than competing devices. The hardware is being built by Samsung itself, but the software is in development in cooperation with Oculus VR. The first full-blown Gear VR development kit will be made available sometime right after the announcement.
Finally, Samsung is expected to dedicate a special section in Samsung Apps for Gear VR, just like it has for the Gear smartwatches. The first set of apps compatible with Gear VR include Gallery, Theatre and 360 Player.