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Carmack: Gear VR to See Regular Updates, New Models

Oculus Rift’s Crescent Bay prototype head-mounted display (HMD) might be the talk of the virtual reality (VR) community right now, but Oculus VR’s Chief Technology Officer John Carmack is currently focused on Samsung’s Gear VR smartphone-based HMD. His talk at the Oculus Connect developer conference in Hollywood, California, is revealing plenty of new details about the device, which runs with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphone. Crucially, Carmack hinted at regular updates to the Gear VR hardware in the future.

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Speaking about Samsung itself, Carmack noted that the company traditionally sees new product rollouts twice a year. According to the developer, VR fans should expect Gear VR to follow this path too. Indeed, the Galaxy Note series has seen annual updates as have most of Samsung’s electronics. Don’t expect two updates to Gear VR a year, then, but perhaps a new model of the device come this time next year. Just how the device might upgrade right now is unclear, although no doubt later versions would be compatible with later smartphones.

Gear VR is expected to launch in mid-October 2014 as an ‘Innovator Edition’, designed for both developers and early adopters as a price below $200 USD. The Galaxy Note 4 utilises a ‘Quad HD’ 2.5K display, which currently tops the Oculus Rift’s second development kit (DK2). It’s not clear if this same display will be seen in the Crescent Bay prototype. VRFocus is at Oculus Connect, bringing you all the latest updates from the event.