Oculus Bringing VR to Samsung's Galaxy (Report)
We've played with virtual reality headsets for both PCs and gaming consoles, but the future of VR could be powered by nothing more than your humble smartphone. Irvine-based headset maker Oculus VR is reportedly teaming up with Samsung, in order to create immersive virtual reality experiences that you can take anywhere you want.
According to Cnet, the two tech titans are working on a new type of VR headset designed specifically for mobile devices. Neither Samsung nor Oculus have made an official comment, but the report claims that Samsung is currently in the stage of sending headset prototypes to developers.
This isn't the first time we've caught wind of Oculus going mobile; the company announced that it was working on an Android version of its headset last fall. While we haven't heard anything about an Android Oculus headset since then, the tech would be a natural fit for Samsung's Android-based line of Galaxy handsets.
An Oculus-Samsung partnership could be a big win for both parties. Oculus, a company largely focused on gaming, could gain a whole new base of mainstream consumers by offering a headset for anyone with a Samsung phone. By the same token, Samsung's Galaxy devices could be the first mobile phones to offer a robust virtual reality experience, which would help set the smartphone maker apart from rivals like Apple and HTC.
The company's new Galaxy S5 has a virtual tour mode for walking someone through a home using pictures; if the Oculus partnership happens, this can be done with genuine virtual reality.
Interstingly, this report comes just weeks after rumors that Samsung is set to launch a virtual reality headset dubbed the Samsung Gear VR. Expected to debut at IFA 2014 in Berlin, this device would likely use an internal AMOLED display and be powered by your Galaxy smartphone.
Sammobile got an exclusive look at the purported Gear VR app interface, which itself provides some hints at what the headset may look like. Based on the app's calibration menus, the Gear VR could pack a touchpad and back button on its right edge, and it looks like it will support hands-free interactivity via S Voice. There's also a see-through mode, which lets you look at the real world by long-pressing the back button.
If Gear VR is indeed part of this rumored Samsung-Oculus collaboration, it would be Oculus' first mainstream hardware release. The Oculus Rift, which currently sells for $360 as a development kit model, still has no launch window for its consumer version.
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Mike Andronico is an Associate Editor at Tom's Guide. When he's not writing about games, PCs and iOS, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter. Follow Mike @MikeAndronico and on Google+. Follow us@TomsGuide, on Facebook and on Google+