Samsung Gear VR
Also known asGear VR
Developer
ManufacturerSamsung
Product family
TypeVirtual reality headset
Release dateAugust 21, 2015 (2015-08-21)
Introductory priceUS$99.99
DiscontinuedAugust 22, 2017 (2017-08-22) (Do Bigger Super Things.)
Units sold5 million[1]
DisplayDisplay of inserted smartphone
Controller inputTouchpad and back button
TouchpadYes
Mass345 grams[2] (without smartphone)
SuccessorOculus Go
WebsiteOfficial website

The Samsung Gear VR is a virtual reality headset developed by Samsung Electronics, in collaboration with Oculus VR, and manufactured by Samsung. The headset was released on August 21, 2015.

When in use, a compatible Samsung Galaxy device acts as the headset's display and processor, while the Gear VR unit itself acts as the controller, which contains the field of view, as well as a custom inertial measurement unit, or IMU, for rotational tracking, which connects to the smartphone via USB-C or micro-USB. The Gear VR headset also includes a touchpad and back button on the side, as well as a proximity sensor to detect when the headset is on.[3]

The Gear VR was first announced on September 3, 2014.[4] To allow developers to create content for the Gear VR and to allow VR and technology enthusiasts to get early access to the technology, Samsung had released two innovator editions of the Gear VR before the consumer version.

Overview

The Samsung Gear VR [5] is designed to work with Samsung’s flagship smartphones. Currently supported are Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note Edge, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Samsung Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge+, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, Galaxy Note 7, Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, Galaxy Note 8 , Galaxy Note 9 , Galaxy s9 , Galaxy s9+ Galaxy s10 , Galaxy s10+ , [6][7]

The Galaxy Note10, Note10+, Note10 5G, and the Note10+ 5G and later are not supported by the Gear VR.[8][9]

The focus can be adjusted using the wheel at the top of the headset. A trackpad is located on the right of the device, home and back buttons are located just above it. Volume can be adjusted through the volume rockers also found on the right-hand side. A USB-C port is located on the bottom of the headset.[10]

Some of the major goals Samsung set for this project regarding hardware were that their headset could support MTP (Motion to Photon) latency less than 20 milliseconds; the optimization of hardware and kernel; and also, to create Galaxy Note 4’s QHD display that enables high-resolution rendering in the headset. The lenses field of view are 96° for the first three models[11][12] and 101° for the R323.[13]

Oculus Home is the main facility to download and use content on the Samsung Gear VR. Oculus Home is also the main line for software distribution on the Gear VR. The primary appeal of the Gear VR is for mobile virtual reality-based gaming and simulations; however, recent interest is growing in the effective use of this device in science and medical education.[14]

History

Although the Samsung Gear VR consumer edition was released in August 2015, Samsung had obtained a patent on a head-mounted display (HMD) in January 2005. This was one of the first ideas of using a mobile phone as the display for an HMD. However, mobile phone technology at the time the patent was submitted limited the degree of quality and performance possible. Samsung continued to research VR and HMD internally.

With the release of the Galaxy S4 in 2013, Samsung formed an official team dedicated to developing a virtual reality-based device that would work with a smartphone. While this team developed multiple different prototypes, the performance and display (despite the Galaxy S4 having a Full HD display) were not yet up to standards.[15] In 2014 Samsung partnered with Oculus (the creators of another well-known virtual reality device, the Oculus Rift) to help with the development. The Samsung Gear VR was unveiled during the Samsung press conference at IFA Berlin on September 3, 2014 (along with a smartphone capable of running it, the Galaxy Note 4).[16]

Hardware editions

Two women wearing Samsung Gear VR headsets

The first edition of Samsung's Gear VR, the SM-R320, was released in October 2014. This version was only compatible with the Galaxy Note 4. This edition was mainly released for developers so they could get an understanding of how the device worked and so they could create content which would be ready for the official release of the consumer version of the device. It also gave the chance for VR/technology enthusiasts to gain early access to the technology.[17] The second edition of Samsung’s Gear VR, the SM-R321, was released in March 2015. This device supports only the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge. A micro-USB port is also added, to provide additional power to the docked device, as well as a small fan inside to prevent the lens fogging.

The next edition, SM-R322, was simply referred to as the Samsung Gear VR. It was released on November 20, 2015. Pre-orders for the device went live on Amazon, Best Buy and Samsung on August 21, 2015, and the device was sold out on the day of release. This edition has again a few minor changes compared to the previous iterations. This edition supports six Samsung Galaxy devices so far: the S6 and S6 Edge. It is also 19% lighter than the previous Innovator Edition, it has improved ergonomics and a redesigned touchpad for easier navigation.[18]

Lucas Giolito wearing a Gear VR headset with a Galaxy S6 Edge in 2016

The SM-R323 model was released alongside the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, and features minor changes, including an improved field of view, increased cushioning, a flat trackpad, and changes to the cover and body of the device to reduce glare. The model also utilizes USB-C connector instead of USB Micro-B so that it could be connected to the Note 7. The port is also capable of data transfer. Adapters are provided for use with older devices using micro-USB connectors.[19][20][21] On October 11, 2016, in observance of a recall and discontinuation of the smartphone, the Gear VR was made incompatible with the Galaxy Note 7 for safety reasons.[22]

An updated model, SM-R324, with support for the larger Galaxy S8 was unveiled on 29 March 2017, for release alongside the phone on 21 April 2017. Samsung also unveiled a handheld Gear VR Controller accessory, which is bundled with the updated model, and will be available as a standalone accessory for existing devices. It remains compatible with existing supported devices.[23][24]

An updated model, SM-R325, with support for the larger Note 8 was unveiled on 15 September 2017, for release alongside the phone. Samsung also unveiled a handheld Gear VR Controller accessory, which is bundled with the updated model, and will be available as a standalone accessory for existing devices. It remains compatible with existing supported devices.

End of Samsung support

On May 11, 2020, Samsung announced that it will be ending service for its XR applications. The service terminated as a whole on September 30, 2020.[25]
With the announcement 360° video uploads and premium video purchases were disabled immediately. Premium videos from the service were accessible until September 30th, 2020. The Samsung XR and Samsung VR Video clients also stopped receiving updates with the announcement.

On June 30, 2020, the support for the Samsung VR Video app ended on Oculus Go, Oculus Rift and Oculus Quest and the app was removed from the Oculus VR store.

On September 30, 2020, all Samsung XR user accounts were disabled, and the according account information and data was permanently deleted from the Samsung XR service. All published videos were removed from the Samsung XR service. The Samsung VR Video app is no longer supported on Samsung Gear VR and Windows Odyssey. The app was also removed from the Oculus and Microsoft Mixed Reality stores. The Samsung XR mobile app is no longer supported on Android devices. The mobile app was also removed from the Galaxy Store and Google Play.

Oculus (now owned by Meta Platforms) continues its support with the Oculus Gear VR app currently available from Google Play. The Oculus Gear VR Store allows Facebook users to download hundreds of Oculus Gear VR experiences, games, apps, entertainment, and more.

List Of Compatible Gear VR With Flagship Phones

SM-R320

SM-R321

SM-R322

SM-C200

SM-R323

SM-R324

References

  1. ^ "Samsung Confirms 5 Million Gear VR Mobile Headsets Sold To Date". January 4, 2017.
  2. ^ "Specifications | Samsung Gear VR with Controller". Samsung.com. Samsung Electronics Co., LTD. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  3. ^ "Samsung Gear VR - Specs". samsung.com. Retrieved October 10, 2015.
  4. ^ "Samsung Explores the World of Mobile Virtual Reality with Gear VR". samsung.com. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
  5. ^ "Earn 1.57% Cashback on Samsung Gear VR". Archived from the original on February 28, 2018. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  6. ^ "Which Galaxy smartphones are compatible with which Gear VRs?". Samsung uk. Retrieved February 8, 2024.
  7. ^ "Samsung Gear VR consumer edition goes on sale in the US". TrustedReviews. November 20, 2015. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  8. ^ "The Note 10 isn't compatible with Samsung's Gear VR headset". Android Central. August 8, 2019. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
  9. ^ Staff (August 14, 2019). "Samsung Galaxy Note 10 marks the end of Google Daydream, Gear VR". BGR India. Archived from the original on September 14, 2019. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
  10. ^ "What are the buttons on my Samsung Gear VR Innovator's Edition, and what do they do?". Samsung Electronics America. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  11. ^ "Gear VR: How Samsung makes Virtual Reality a Reality". Samsung Electronics Official Blog: Samsung Tomorrow. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
  12. ^ "Samsung Gear VR review". Engadget UK. Retrieved December 10, 2015.
  13. ^ "Samsung Gear VR review". Cnet. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  14. ^ Moro, Christian; Štromberga, Zane; Stirling, Allan (November 29, 2017). "Virtualisation devices for student learning: Comparison between desktop-based (Oculus Rift) and mobile-based (Gear VR) virtual reality in medical and health science education". Australasian Journal of Educational Technology. 33 (6). doi:10.14742/ajet.3840. ISSN 1449-5554.
  15. ^ "Samsung Gear VR consumer edition goes on sale in the US". Trusted Reviews - The Latest Technology News and Reviews. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  16. ^ "IFA 2014: Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Note Edge, Gear VR and Gear S hands-on". GSMArena.com. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
  17. ^ "Introducing the Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition". www.oculus.com. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
  18. ^ "Samsung Gear VR now available for pre-orders at $99". www.oculus.com. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
  19. ^ "Leak: Samsung's new Gear VR has wider field of view, works with Note 7". August 2016.
  20. ^ "New Gear VR redesign doesn't fix what wasn't already broken last year". Ars Technica. August 24, 2016. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  21. ^ O'Kane, Sean (August 2, 2016). "Samsung gives the Gear VR a facelift". The Verge. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
  22. ^ "Oculus disables Gear VR on Galaxy Note 7 over safety fears". The Verge. October 11, 2016. Retrieved October 11, 2016.
  23. ^ "Samsung Galaxy S8's VR headset delivers refined graphics, so-so controller". Polygon. Vox Media. March 29, 2017. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  24. ^ "Samsung's Gear VR may be the Galaxy S8's greatest fringe benefit". CNET. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  25. ^ "Samsung XR is ending service for its XR apps on September 30, 2020". SamsungVR.com. Retrieved September 14, 2020.