Samsung Gear VR headset launching next month, starts at $199

Samsung logoFor fans of virtual reality, it's been excruciating waiting for Oculus to release a commercial version of the Rift headset it first displayed as a prototype way back in May of 2012. Given that, it's a bit amazing that the first version of the Oculus-powered Samsung Gear VR has officially been "slated for early December" after being unveiled just over two months ago.

The "Innovator Edition" of the Gear VR headset will start at $199, Oculus announced this week, or come in a $249 bundle that includes a Bluetooth gamepad. Of course, that price doesn't include the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, the only mobile phone that works with the device, which runs about $800 unsubsidized and unlocked on its own.

Samsung Gear VR

Oculus says that the Innovator Edition is akin to a Rift Developer Kit, intended to give "developers and enthusiasts everything they need to build and experiment with the platform before the hardware and software are ready for consumers." Samsung seems to be marketing the device more directly as a consumer-facing product, though, with a splashy pre-order page encouraging customers to "see the difference" in an "unparalleled 360° virtual reality viewing experience."

There are already a few dozen games and apps announced for the Gear VR, including built-in apps for movie and picture viewing. All that software will be offered to users for free for at least a few months as Oculus finalizes the payment system for its closed Oculus Store platform, which will be the only way developers can distribute apps for Gear VR.

We got some extensive hands-on time with the Gear VR at the Oculus Connect conference in September and came away impressed with the unit's comfort and fidelity, despite the lack of robust positional tracking.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Samsung

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