Samsung Gear VR

Samsung Gear VR

Samsung says more than 5 million Gear VR headsets have shipped


This article originally appeared on our sister site, VR Source.

Samsung has shipped more than five million Gear VR headsets, the company has announced. Samsung Electronics America President and COO Tim Baxter made the claim during a presentation at CES 2017, noting that more than ten million hours of combined video had been viewed with the VR product.

The Gear VR was originally released in 2014 in partnership with Oculus. It has since been through several iterations, but unlike VR products with built-in displays such as the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, the Gear VR relies on a Samsung smartphone to operate.

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Samsung has helped bolster the adoption of the Gear VR in several ways since its launch, releasing the comparatively well-priced Gear 360 camera to help users capture 360-degree footage for VR viewing, as well as offering the headset as a free extra for those who pre-ordered a Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge last year.

For comparison, the HTC Vive sold 140,000 units during its first six months on sale last year. Oculus Rift sales figures are currently unknown, but one estimate suggests it will have sold in the region of 355,000 units by the end of 2016.

The Gear VR can currently be picked up for $99 via Samsung’s official website, though there’s a chance we’ll see a similar offer this year with pre-orders of the upcoming Galaxy S8.

Samsung Internet app for Gear VR adds custom backgrounds and more

This article first appeared on our sister site, VR Source.

Samsung smartphone owners who also use the Gear VR headset can now check out an updated version of the Samsung Internet web browser. Version 4.2 includes some new features, including a way to add custom backgrounds to make your virtual reality browsing experience a bit more colorful.

The backgrounds come from premium images that have been created by the cloud graphics company OTOY. They are designed to offer Samsung Internet users more of a PC desktop experience when they use the app to check out web sites while wearing the Gear VR accessory.

Samsung Internet app for Gear VR adds custom backgrounds and more

In addition, the new version of the app now supports the WebVR 1.0 API. This is a first-generation version of a new JavaScript API designed for web sites. If a site supports WebVR, the Samsung Internet app will be able to view 3D images on those pages from a number of different angles. Future versions of WebVR will allow site designers to create full virtual reality experiences in web pages.

Gear VR owners can download version 4.2 of the Samsung Internet app now from the Oculus Store. In addition to serving as a web browser, the app allows owners to view any images or video stored on their smartphone with its File Explorer feature.

How often do you use your Gear VR? Will you be adding custom backgrounds?

Next-gen Gear VR may feature eye and face tracking

The first consumer generation of virtual reality headsets are now settling in, and it’s about time manufacturers start turning their attention to next generation technologies. A patent application filed by Samsung last May reveals that the company may have some new wearing tracking technologies planned for its next Gear VR headset.

According to the document, the major new feature in Samsung’s next headset will quite possible be eye tracking and facial monitoring capabilities, in addition to new headset position tracking sensors to follow the headset through a 3D space. This could allow the next Gear VR to take users walking through 3D virtual environments without a controller, rather than being a mostly motionless experience. The Gear VR’s physical position tracking technology uses LED lights and an external camera, while the wearer’s face and eyes are monitored by cameras built into the inside of the headset.

Next-gen Gear VR may feature eye and face tracking

110: head mounted device, 115a: tracking camera

It’s not quite clear what the patent’s facial expression monitoring feature would be especially useful for. Perhaps it will allow for virtual social interactions to be more lifelike? Eye tracking can be especially useful in virtual reality though, as it can allow for the use of advanced accurate foveated rendering by following the wearer’s eye, which reduced the GPU load, a limiting factor in mobile devices.

Next-gen Gear VR may feature eye and face tracking

1605: EOG sensor, 1610: IR LED, 1615: IR sensor

Of course, a patent application is no guarantee that Samsung will implement any of these technologies into its next-gen Gear VR, although it does give us an indication of the types of technologies that the company is working on. Even so, we’re hopefully looking at an interesting headset release perhaps sometime in 2017.

This article first appeared on VRSource.

Hit the three-pointer with NBA 2KVR Experience for Gear VR, PSVR and HTC Vive


This post originally appeared on our sister site, VRSource.

If you want to feel like you are a pro basketball player in the NBA, a new virtual reality game might be able to help make that fantasy come true, at least for a little while. 2K Sports, the creators of the best-selling NBA 2K games for consoles, has released NBA 2KVR Experience for the Samsung Gear VR, PlayStation VR and HTC Vive headsets.

See also: The best PlayStation VR games

The game was co-developed by Visual Concepts, the makers of the NBA 2K console games, and Specular Interactive.  The player begins the game by walking into the court of Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the home of the Indiana Pacers. One of its team members, Paul George, who also happens to be the cover player for NBA 2K17, will be the game’s mentor and commentator, offering tips on how to improve the player’s efforts in the game.

NBA 2KVR Experience will offer a first-person viewpoint for the player as he or she tries to complete a series of mini-games on the court, including the classic three-point shootout, along with speed and accuracy challenges. There’s even a “buzzer beater” countdown mini-game so you can feel like a hero as you get that last point before time runs out.  The game features a tie-in with Gatorade, as the player gains “fuel boosts” from the sports drink that is suppose to help with their shots, speed and recovery.

The game is currently available for download on the previously mentioned platforms for $14.99. If you own an Oculus Rift, don’t worry; the NBA 2KVR Experience game will be released for that headset sometime in the near future.

Samsung Galaxy Beta users can’t use their Gear VR headsets


Samsung originally introduced the Galaxy Beta program to allow for select users to try out the newest version of Android on their Samsung devices, but many early adopters are having some un-predicted complications because of it.

While your phone may be fine with running the most up to date experience Android has to offer, Oculus isn’t. The app hasn’t yet been updated to support Android Nougat, so many users are finding that their Oculus Gear VR app will not run while enrolled in the beta program. While this is hardly a deal-breaker for many, there are some users that are absolutely in love with their Gear VR headset, and are more worried about being able to use that than being on the latest and greatest version of Android.

You may be wondering, “how do I roll back?” This is actually quite simple and can be done by opening up the beta app which Samsung is using to get people into the experience, then de-registering yourself from the program. The phone will then install Android Marshmallow on your phone once again, and after a few selections and a bit of waiting, you should be ready to go. If you used some other method to install Nougat onto your device however, you’re going to have to re-flash the stock rom for your Galaxy device to get back to the original stable state.

While this may come as a bumber for many, we are likely not too far off from either Samsung officially upgrading Galaxy devices to Nougat themselves, or Oculus adding support to the new OS though their Android app.

What is more important to you? Would you prefer to be on the cutting edge of Android, or use your Gear VR to your heart’s content?

This was originally published at our sibling site, VR Source.