Samsung virtual reality headset offers brands immersive options

Samsung has partnered with Facebook owned Oculus to create a virtual reality headset that brands will soon be able to create immersive content for.

Samsung Gear VR
The Samsung Gear VR headset.

The Gear VR headset acts as an accessory to the company’s latest smartphone, the Galaxy Note 4, unveiled at technology trade show IFA in Berlin today (3 September).

The phone is slotted into the headset, which uses the handset’s screen and speakers to offer a near “96-degree” field of vision.

Sensors inside the Oculus-powered headset will detect when the user moves their head, allowing a more immersive experience for moves and games.

JK Shin, president and CEO of Samsung’s IT and mobile communications division, says in statement: “The Samsung Gear VR goes far beyond expectations of how mobile technology can be used to consume content, and is a powerful representation of the progressive innovation of the Gear series.”

The device adds to virtual reality prototypes created by Sony and Oculus’ own Oculus Rift. It will retail later this autumn.

Brands already partnering Samsung to create content for the headset include Marvel, IMAX, DreamWorks VR, Cirque du Soleil Media and Vevo.

Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight, says: “You have to admire Samsung’s relentless stream of new products, be it smartphones and tablets at all price tiers or the volley of smartwatches that have been released over the last 12 months. Its underlines the ever quickening pace of the mobile devices space and a competitive landscape that sees Samsung having to anticipate Apple’s every move while looking over its shoulder at the ever present threat from Chinese manufacturers.”

Today (3 September) Samsung also showcased another new smartphone, the Note Edge, a high-end device that features a curved screen, and a new smartwatch, the Smartwatch 3.

Last month Samsung unveiled a new smartwatch, the Gear S, that is the first to connect to 3G networks without the need for smartphone tethering.

Samsung reported a 20 per cent drop in profit in its second quarter as it was hit by a slowdown in smartphone sales and unfavourable currency movements.

Separately at IFA today, rival Sony announced its new flagship smartphone, the Xperia Z3 which features aluminium casing and enhanced specs on previous models.