GearVR has been available for the better part of a year now, but the first iterations of the headset were really designed with developers and VR enthusiasts in mind. The hardware was early, though fairly well-refined, and software wasn't readily available. Early this fall, Samsung will finally be ready for a full scale consumer push.
The currently available GearVR headsets are fairly impressive, but they have always been targeted towards developers and early adopters of VR technology. These early headsets worked with only a limited number of devices. The original GearVR was designed to work with the Galaxy Note 4, and several months later the GearVR Innovator Edition was released, which works with the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smartphones.
Samsung announced on stage at Oculus Connect 2 that the retail version of GearVR will support Samsung's full 2015 lineup of smartphones. The Note 5, Galaxy S6 edge+, Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge will all fit into the upcoming GearVR, which will open VR up to a wider range of Samsung owners.
The consumer version of the headset has undergone some improvements over the previous generation. Samsung said the new headset is lighter and more comfortable than the previous iterations. Early GearVR units included a strap around your head, as well as one that goes over. The headset shown on stage and the images we've seen show that the consumer version doesn't have the top strap.
The company also said that the touchpad on the side of the unit has been improved for better response.
The consumer version of the GearVR will be sold for $99, and Samsung stated that it will be in stores on time for Black Friday in the U.S. The rest of the world will be able to buy it sometime thereafter.
Update, 9/25/15, 7:50am PT: Fixed typos regarding the names of Samsung devices.