Samsung Galaxy S 6 and Galaxy S 6 edge owners waiting patiently for the Oculus-powered Gear VR (opens in new tab) Innovator Edition to arrive don't have much longer to wait, as Samsung is opening up pre-purchases on Friday, April 24 at BestBuy.com. The headset doesn't go retail until Friday, May 8, at both BestBuy.com and Samsung.com/GearVR websites, and on May 15 at select Best Buy retail stores. Additional Best Buy locations will provide demonstrations and hardware during the summer.
Samsung revealed on Thursday that the company has made some improvements to the Gear VR headset since the original version built for the Galaxy Note 4 was released. For instance, the device is now somewhat smaller, has better airflow, and sports a small built-in fan for better ventilation. The company also redesigned the straps for a more comfortable fit, and it claimed that the S 6 and S 6 edge's octacore 64-bit processor will improve the VR experience.
To date, only three Samsung phones have been compatible with any version of the Gear VR: the Galaxy Note 4, the Galaxy S 6 and the Galaxy S 6 edge.
Pricing for the device is unknown at press time, but the original Gear VR sold for around $200. Why so cheap? Because the device depends on a specific phone that is shoved in front of two curved lenses. To make the 3D illusion happen, the phone's screen divides into two sections that blend together when the wearer is looking through the lenses. In a way, it's somewhat like a modern day View-Master, but with moving images.
For the curious, here are the most recent specs for the Gear VR Innovator Edition:
|Samsung Gear VR Product Specifications|
|Dimensions||196.1(W) x 98.5(L) x 82.8(H)|
|Sensor||Accelerator, Gyrometer, Proximity (Mount/Unmount Detection), Ventilation Fan|
|Motion to Photon Latency||<20 ms|
|Field of View||96 degrees|
|IPD Coverage||54 ~ 70 mm (Fixed Lenses)|
|Accessories||Replaceable Face Form, Carrying Pouch, Lens Cleaning Cloth|
|Connectivity||microUSB connection to the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge|
In addition to providing a retail date for the VR specs, Samsung also announced that Milk VR is introducing a new series called "MY 360." This new series is produced by Matador and provides a behind-the-scenes look at the viewer's favorite celebrities, musicians and so on. Each episode lasts for a mere 8 to 10 minutes, with the first installment launching today and featuring Chris Bosh from the NBA's Miami Heat. Additional episodes will be announced soon.
Earlier this month, Oculus VR provided (opens in new tab) instructions on how to get the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 to be compatible with the old Gear VR Innovator Edition. Owners must download and install a required software update, which can be obtained if the phone has an active SIM card already installed.
If the automatic update cannot be obtained, Oculus VR provided a set of instructions to install the update manually. Simply go to "Apps," then "Settings" and then "About Device." From there, tap "Software updates," then "Check for updates." Finally, tap "OK."
If the automatic and manual update methods fail to produce any results, the company suggested that Galaxy Note 4 users contact their mobile service provider.
Update, 4/24/15, 12:15pm. We reached out to Samsung for comment and received confirmation that the new Gear VR Innovator Edition is designed specifically for the Galaxy S 6 and S 6 edge and is not backwards-compatible with the Note 4. We have updated the article text in light of the new information.