Got your hands on a shiny new Samsung/Oculus developed Gear-VR, but perhaps you’re not all too happy about the fact that you need a nearly $700 phone in order to work the thing?
Maybe you’re a little salty that you spent that $700 plus (GearVR itself is a great deal at only $99 USD, but add that on top of the cost of a compatible phone and you’re close to 1k) and you get directional (the direction you are looking) tracking, but no positional (the direction you are looking); much like the Oculus DK1 (the first Oculus DevKit)?
Well then you might be happy to know that Samsung’s future plans include making you feel better by building a wireless VR HMD that will not only allow you to not need a very expensive premium smartphone to run it but will give you the positional tracking of more recent consumer headsets, like the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift; and may also include hand and gesture-tracking (ala a device like Oculus Touch perhaps?). Which would be awesome.
While not much is clear about the details just yet, Samsung’s software and service research and development boss, Injong Rhee, recently told Variety magazine they are “working on wireless and dedicated VR devices, not necessarily working with our mobile phone”, which means that before too long we may just be lucky enough to experience holodeck-like Virtual Reality experiences without needing bundles of cords and ultra-expensive high-end computer hardware to run it. But don’t get your hopes up too high just yet that this kind of tech is only a few months away, as Rhee also suggested that we won’t be seeing at least the Samsung variation until the platform has matured somewhat.
“VR is amazing, but the industry is still in it’s infancy”
Just recently Oculus and HTC both released their respective flagship headsets to the public with the majority of reviews being overwhelmingly positive (and a very vocal minority of nay-sayers), but with many still touting one of the biggest issues remaining with the tech being the cords. It’s just hard to enjoy good VR when you have to constantly concern yourself with whether or not you are going to get tripped up by them, and just their presence alone hanging off the HMD can be a rather large immersion-killing factor. An untethered headset like that which Samsung is looking to provide, would be a huge step towards that dream of holodeck-like VR.
Regardless of whether or not Samsung does it first though, it is clear now that more than ever before VR is here, and it is here to stay.
Set your expectations high as the next couple of years in the world of VR/AR technology are not likely to disappoint!