Samsung Launches New Virtual Reality Headset With Gear VR

09/03/2014 11:12 am ET | Updated Nov 03, 2014

(Adds Oculus VR executive quotes and details)

By Lehar Maan and Malathi Nayak

Sept 3 (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has launched a virtual reality headset for its new Galaxy Note 4 phablet using technology from Oculus VR, a company that Facebook Inc acquired for $2 billion.

The wireless headset, called Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition, allows users to watch videos and play games in a virtual reality setting.

Samsung, the world's biggest mobile phone maker, unveiled the Galaxy Note 4 phablet earlier on Wednesday.

The headset, into which the Note 4 can be docked, will have four visual settings that simulate experiences such as sitting in a theater or being on stage.

The headset is a beta version for "developers and enthusiasts; it's going to be sold online only," Oculus VR Chief Executive Brendan Iribe said. "It's not mass-market consumer ready."

Samsung did not announce a price for the product but said it would be available later this year.

The Gear VR is not the first mobile virtual reality headset. Earlier this year, Google showed off a cardboard box that when attached to an Android phone transforms it into a virtual reality headset.

The Gear VR has lower latency and better images compared to previously developed mobile VR headsets from Google and others, Iribe said.

Sony Corp also has a prototype for a virtual reality headset for its Playstation 4 games console. The headset, in development under the name "Project Morpheus", is designed to project images that shift along with the movements of a gamer's head.

The Note 4 features a crisper, 5.7-inch (14.5-cm) display in a metal frame, reflecting Samsung's latest design strategy to keep pace with rivals including Apple Inc, which is expected to launch its first large-screen iPhone next week.

The new Galaxy Note 4 offers accessories designed to attract gamers. It also has an improved pen stylus and related software as a handwriting alternative to typing on a keyboard. (Reporting by Lehar Maan in Bangalore and Malathi Nayak in San Francisco; Editing by Kirti Pandey and Jonathan Oatis)

  • Galaxy Note 4
    The Note 4 features a 5.7-inch quad HD screen and an improved stylus with 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity.
  • Galaxy Note 4
    It also features a metal frame and the same 'soft touch' leather-style back plate as the Note 3.
  • Note Edge Vs Note 4
    Here you can see the Note 4 compared to the Note Edge, on top.
  • Note Edge Vs Note 4
    The Note Edge has a slightly shorter screen at 5.6-inches, but is essentially a Note 4 'under the hood'.
  • Gear S Smartwatch
    Samsung's new smartwatch is larger than the Gear 2, with a brilliant curved display.
  • Gear S
    It also features a full QWERTY keyboard for replying to messages - hope you have dainty fingers.
  • Gear S
    A side view of the Gear S shows the relatively thick form factor hiding under the screen.
  • Gear VR
    The Gear VR is a 3D virtual reality headset that uses a Note 4 for its screen(s).
  • Gear VR
    It's powered by Oculus - the leaders in the next gen of VR technology.
  • Gear VR
    ... and it looks super cool, as shown here by our editor @michaelrundle.
  • Note Edge
    The Note Edge has a brilliant curved side for notifications, icons and other tools.
  • Note Edge
    The effect is stunning in person...
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