The Samsung Gear VR – their virtual reality headset – is apparently set to launch at IFA in September, which means of course that with just over a month to go till the headset is launched, there’s going to be leaks. Of course the source is SamMobile, who have managed to get their hands on the Gear VR Manager software which will manage your Virtual experience with the headset.
The Samsung Gear VR is a headset experience designed to be similar in scope and experience to the Occulus Rift, who are designing the software for the Gear VR. The hardware side will see a phone docked to the headset, which most likely will have to be a Samsung phone based on previous experience with Gear branded Samsung accessories. Based on leaks and information, SamMobile did mock up a render of the unit last month:
But, onto the latest leak, which involves the Gear VR Manager software. Once installed, the Gear VR Manager app will of course present a License Agreement for you to agree to, before connecting to Samsung’s servers to download the required apps. Apps required include VR Panorama, VR Cinema and HMT Manager – which SamMobile describe as an ‘Early Gear VR Manager’. You’ll get a pleasant thankyou and you’re apparently setup, at least software wise.
Without the headset itself, the VR Panorama and VR Cinema apps are apparently not able to be used (which you’d expect), but they were however able to gain access to the HMT Manager. In HMT Manager, they were able to get a look at various aspects of the headsets functions, including the VR Lock,Undock Alert and Warning Alert. VR Lock offers the user an option to setup a lock while using the headset, while Undock Alert lets you know when the phone is detached and guides you through how to attach it again, Warning Alert reminds you hourly you have a headset on.
The various screens they captured from the HMT Manager revealed S-Voice functions to control the phone, a VR mode which will use the rear camera on the phone to give a ‘see-through’ experience as well as showing how the accelerometers and other sensors in the phone will be used to control the vision axis, and just like Google Glass, a side mounted touchpad will be used to navigate.
The headset should launch at IFA in September, but you never know. Expect the Gear VR to require a Samsung phone to operate, but we’re always up for a surprise and who knows if the app will be hacked to work on non-Samsung equipment (keep your eyes on XDA for that one). Pricing should be competitive, especially considering they real competitors are the USD$1500 Google Glass, or the USD$350 Occulus Rift dev kit, and Gear VR doesn’t have a built-in screen. Stay Tuned, there should hopefully be more details soon.