Samsung unveiled its Gear VR virtual-reality headset during IFA 2014 at its Samsung Unpacked 2014 Episode 2 event. Here we explore the Samsung Gear VR release date, price and specs. See also: Samsung Gear VR vs Oculus Rift comparison
Samsung has its hands in all sorts of pies - too many pies, some might suggest - so it was no surprise to learn in May from Engadget that it was working on a virtual reality headset that would launch in 2014.
Samsung then gave us our first look at the Samsung Gear VR during its Samsung Unpacked 2014 Episode 2 event. Read next: Samsung Gear VR hands-on review.
Samsung Gear VR release date: When is the Gear VR coming out?
Samsung has been working with Oculus, the creator of the Oculus Rift VR headset, to create the Gear VR (also see: Oculus Rift release date, price and specs), and the Gear VR Innovator Edition development kit became available to order on 8 December. While anyone can order the Innovator Edition, it's not designed for the general consumer and isn't quite the finished product.
"This is just the first step toward true consuemr mobile VR," reads Oculus's blog post announcing the availability of the Innovator Edition. "Though it's missing several key components for comfort and presence, we're working with Samsung to improve in every vertical including optics, distortion, heat, weight, ergonomics, tracking, and display tech. Ultimately, it's a long term effort that we're commited to getting right.
With the launch of the Innovator Edition came the launch of the Oculus VR Store, which lets developers share their VR applications for Gear VR owners to download and use.
Update: The Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition is now avilable to anyone and you can buy it from the Samsung Store.
Samsung Gear VR price: How much does the Gear VR cost?
The Samsung Gear VR has been priced at a reasonable £199, but you will need to own a Galaxy Note 4 in order to use the Samsung Gear VR, so that'll add £600 to the overall cost of the device.
See also: 11 best Google Cardboard apps
Samsung Gear VR: features and specs
The Samsung Gear VR is powered by Oculus technology, which Samsung says will "enable users to fully immerse themselves in a cinematic virtual reality environment."
The Samsung Gear VR uses the 5.7in Quad HD Super AMOLED display of the Galaxy Note 4, which slides inside the headset itself. It uses accelorator, gyrometer, magnetic and proximity sensors to help create the 360 degree experience. Samsung says there's a super accuracy sensor that means virtually no lag while using the Gear VR.
You'll find a touch pad, back button and volume key on the device itself.
It has flexible, soft cushioning to help with comfort, and is also designed to be lightweight - you'll be wearing it on your face, after all, so weight is important. The Gear VR comes in Frost White.
The Gear VR is completely wireless, too.
Samsung Gear VR: apps
Samsung says that there will be a "robust selection of optimised virtual reality content from a wide range of top-tier creators, users will be able to enjoy a wide range of film, gaming, 360 degree video, and educational/experiential content."
It has already announced the following apps that'll be available to use with the Gear VR:
Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron "offers Samsung Gear VR user to have exclusive access to Tony Stark's Lab inside the all-new Avengers Tower."
IMAX "offers samples of Hollywood and documentary films in a virtual theatre with Samsung Gear VR - the next best thing to a live IMAX experience.
DreamWorks VR by DreamWorks Animation "allows users to interact and laugh with DreamWorks characters and content in a whole new way like never before."
Legendary's Pacific Rim Jaeger Pilot "is an immersive content experience that puts viewers at the center of the action."
Cirque de Soleil Media "presents a 360 live-action 3D VR experience, featuring an at from Zarkana."
M-GO Advanced, "a new paradigm for digital video VR applications, offers an unmatched interactive search and discovery experience."
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Protocol Zero from DENA "lets players infiltrate enemy grounds undetected in blackout conditions with hi-tech options including night vision, X-ray vision and thermal vision."
Qualcomm Vuforia "connects the physical world with digital experiences to demand attention, drive engagement and deliver value through a mobile vision platform that enables app to see with Samsung Gear VR."