If you want to ride the wave of virtual reality headsets early, now you can do so for $200 — provided you already own a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphone. The Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition is officially available for purchase, so developers and enthusiasts can get their hands on one of the first consumer-grade VR peripherals.
Samsung added the Gear VR Innovator Edition to its online store today, and the device is already shipping out. For those not familiar with it, the Gear VR is a headset that allows users to plug in a Galaxy Note 4 and use it as a virtual reality display. The device runs on Oculus software, the same platform that will power the upcoming Oculus Rift headset.
Potential buyers should also be aware that the Innovator Edition is not the product's final form. This model is mostly for developers or early adopters who simply can't live without a VR headset for the next few months. Rather than offering a full range of games and apps, the Innovator Edition will support mostly short demos of video and gaming content. A full version of the device will most likely launch in 2015, and may cost less money.
Since the Gear VR uses a Galaxy Note S4 as its centerpiece, users may find the phone's 2560 x 1440 resolution display familiar. Nearsighted and farsighted aficionados will be able to adjust the headset's lenses to compensate for their eyesight deficiencies. The Gear VR's accelerometer and gyrometer will help them control many of the VR-specific games and apps.
Right now, no physical stores stock the Gear VR Innovator Edition, so if you want one, it's probably best to order it sooner rather than later. If you don't need it for development, though, consider waiting for the full retail version. Otherwise, you may be sitting on a $200 tech demo.
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