The mobile virtual reality (VR) market has been segregated by the consumer’s choice of head-mounted display (HMD) for some time now. While Google has offered their Cardboard platform as a simple smartphone holder, allowing third-parties to create their own compatible HMDs, the Samsung Gear VR uses proprietary software that locks-out the device from utilising other VR software. However, there are a number of applications available which will overcome this issue unlocking the potential to run Google Cardboard software on the Samsung Gear VR without the need to purchase an additional HMD.
While Google Cardboard HMDs are available from less then $10 USD, the principle of the matter is that the Samsung Gear VR is arguably the premium mobile VR experience at present and users who wish to experience VR content would argue that they shouldn’t be restricted. At present, the Samsung Gear VR is detected when a compatible smartphone is inserted and automatically launches the installed Oculus Home software. However a number of applications are available to circumvent this process.
The most recently launched is Hecorat’s Use Cardboard apps for Gear VR, which does exactly what the name suggests. Also available are CB Enabler for Gear VR and Play Cardboard apps on Gear VR, developed by YoutopiaVR and KunKunSoft respectively. As Use Cardboard apps for Gear VR is the most recently launched and has median price-tag of the three, currently priced at $0.99 USD, this is the application that VRFocus will utilise for the below example.
- Purchase and install Use Cardboard apps for Gear VR from the Google Play Store.
- Open the app and select whether you wish to utilise Samsung Gear VR software or Google Cardboard software.
- Load your chosen application.
And that’s it! There is no rooting of software required; it’s a simple plug-and-play solution.
Furthermore, Use Cardboard apps for Gear VR includes a homescreen widget allowing for the chosen mode to be toggled without directly loading the application. It should be noted that Use Cardboard apps for Gear VR app acts as a Device Administrator, so will need to be deactivated before uninstalling, should you choose to do so.
Of course, this information may have a limited lifespan due to the impending launch of Google’s new VR platform, Google Daydream. Set for a November 2016 launch, VRFocus has examined the differences between the Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream in a guide designed to assist you with your choice of which platform to invest in.