We were stoked, like the rest of you techies, when Oculus announced that its VR headset would be available to the public in Q1 of 2016. But what are we supposed to do until the headset is released? Well, today Samsung announced that their Gear VR headset will be available to more users around the globe.
Now, Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge owners can experience Samsung’s Gear VR headset. The new headset that supports these devices is currently priced at $199, which is the same price as the VR headset available for the Galaxy Note 4.
There are a few other differences when comparing it to its predecessor. First, Samsung has done away with the cover on the front of the headset, so now you just snap it in and let the VR adventures begin. Second, they added a micro USB port which allows you to use the headset and charge your phone at the same time; handy. Lastly, Samsung has added a small phone fan to keep the phone cool as you geek out. (There’s nothing like a phone bursting into flames while it is strapped to your head.)
Other VR headsets, such as the Oculus Rift or Razer OSVR, have the hardware built into the actual headset which means as technology continues to improve, you will need to purchase a whole new headset rather than just a “frame.” Because many smartphone owners purchase a new smartphone at least every two years, Samsung owners can take advantage of spending less on a headset “frame”, since their smartphone provides the power. What would allow Samsung to really set themselves apart from other VR manufactures, is if they created a universal headset for its smartphone owners. Although this could be relatively difficult to achieve and we’re likely lose some performance along the way, a universal headset could be the sweet spot to help drive mainstream adoption of VR technology. As smartphones evolve and consumers desire thinner phones and larger screens, Samsung will have their work cut out for them if they do move towards a universal headset model.
What are your thoughts? Do you think there would be a benefit to Samsung creating a universal headset? Would you be willing to give up a little performance if you did not have to buy a new headset frame as you upgrade handsets? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.