Back in December 2014 both Oculus VR and Samsung released their first mobile virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) in the Innovator’s Edition of the Gear VR. The original version of the device supported Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 enlarged smartphone. Since then the Gear VR has experienced something of a whirlwind of a year, getting a new Innovator’s Edition that supports the Galaxy S6 flagship phone back in March 2015 and just recently revealing a consumer version that supports all 2015 Samsung smartphones. The earliest of adopters might start to worry that their Galaxy Note 4 is getting outdated, then, but Oculus VR doesn’t think that this is the case.
CTO John Carmack recently stated as much on Twitter. Replying to one fan asking if the Galaxy Note 4 will continue to be supported going forward, Carmack noted: “A lot of us still use Note 4s here, so it should be good for a while yet.” It wasn’t confirmed if this meant that the Galaxy Note 4 would run on the consumer version of the Gear VR however. That said, the device does have the same 5.7 inch display as its successor, but the dimensions do differ slightly. The Galaxy Note 4 has also been slower to receive some VR content than the Galaxy S6 since its release.
The consumer Gear VR doesn’t boast a major redesign in terms of hardware features or form factor, still lacking aspects such as positional tracking. That said, it does include an improved touch pad and is said to be 22 percent lighter than its previous model. Easily the most impressive factor, however, is the $99 USD price point. The device is due to launch before Black Friday on 27th November 2015 in the US and shortly after everywhere else. Oculus VR is lining up a lot of new content for the device including Oculus Arcade and Netflix.
VRFocus will continue to follow the consumer Gear VR closely, reporting back with the latest updates on the device.