If you’ve been following the Samsung rumor mill you’re probably familiar with the new partnership between Oculus and Samsung. There was an official announcement today along with some pictures, and additional information. The new headset will be called Gear VR and is made for the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. You slip the phone into the VR headset and strap it on using the Galaxy Note 4 as your screen. Obviously using the phone as your processor (and screen) means you are limited to the tech of the phone itself, so let’s get into the specs!
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 will have…
- Super AMOLED Quad HD 2560 x 1440 res display
- 3GB of RAM
- Quad Core 2.7 GHz Krait 450 CPU
- Adreno 420 GPU
- 3,220 mAH battery
- A 5.7 inch display
- A nice new metal frame
- 16-MP back facing camera with Optical Image Stabilization (8x digital zoom)
- 3.7-MP front facing camera
- Lightning charge which can get you up 50% in 30 minutes
Clearly this is a very impressive phone, but will it be enough to support the demanding needs of VR? Samsung seems to think so. The Gear VR is powered by Oculus Mobile SDK. When you boot up you will be prompted to choose from Samsung apps, or other apps. The Gear VR will launch with a few things, Oculus Home (basically an Oculus store where you can purchase VR content), Oculus Cinema a virtual movie theater, and Oculus 360 Video where you can playback panoramic content.
Though we haven’t had the chance to get our hands on this personally (and the beta is not going to be released till this fall) we still have some reservations with the product. One is obviously GPU/CPU; Palmer Luckey the creator of Rift once quoted that “Xbox One and PS4 are far too limited” [for the Rift] so what does that mean for mobile? Of course, Gear VR isn’t trying to compete with the Rift but it still raises questions weather it will be worth it for the consumer to pick up, or just hold off altogether.
Oculus themselves are no stranger to Samsung tech, with the 2nd Generation Developer Kit actually utilizing the entire screen from the predecessor; the Galaxy Note 3. There are some upsides to mobile VR, one huge one is there are no cables or extra hardware; everything you need is on your head. Though the price point hasn’t been announced it will surely be cheaper and more sophisticated than anything on the market (though you will have to have a Galaxy Note 4 to use it). It’s still yet to be said how this will playout. One thing is for sure any push toward the future of VR we can get behind and will be patiently watching.