Wednesday, November 11, 2015
GEAR VR IS NOW! AVAILABLE
The new GEAR VR HMD (Head Mounted Display) is now available -- for orders for a penny less than $100.00.
UPDATE: As of Nov 28 2015 orders already taken are shipping from Amazon. For new orders, they are currently "out of stock". According to Samsung (http://www.samsung.com/us/explore/gear-vr/)
an order on the Samsung site "Ships in 3 - 4 weeks. NOTE: Product may NOT arrive by 12/25/15".
Compared to the initial version, the new unit is:
- Lighter weight
- More comfortable
- With improved fit, including room for most eyeglasses and improved padding for extra comfort and durability
- With an upgraded touch pad that’s easy to use
- And cheaper.
NOTE: It is compatible (only) with
- Galaxy Note5
- Galaxy S6 edge+
- Galaxy S6
- Galaxy S6 edge
(a software update from your carrier is required for S6 edge+ and Note5)
The GEAR VR is actually the only real VR device currently available. (More about Google CARDBOARD below.) Other devices will debut next year.
I have found the first version of GEAR VR to be comfortable and rather fun and pleasant to use. This new version should be even better.
There is interesting content available now. including 3D full sphere dramas. There is a lot of content experimenting with the possibilities of VR. Movies from NETFLIX are available. Some news and entertainment content is being streamed live by NextVR. Right now, the most stunning content is a collection of 3D 360 photos created by OTOY.
All you need to do is put the GEAR VR on and select content from the OCULUS store, which pops up automatically. Most content is currently free. In addition to content on the OCULUS store, there will be more and more VR apps that can be downloaded from other sites onto your SAMSUNG smartphone and then immediately viewed on the GEAR VR.
More and more content is becoming available for the GEAR VR every day. 3D video is going to get real good very soon with 4096x4096 full sphere 3D videos coming to MILK VR.
Anyone planning to develop for XR should absolutely get the GEAR VR and experiment with it. (Note: XR = VR, AR, MR or any other R. I give the whole bunch the single nickname XR - for eXtended Reality; and X is also often used for the unknown, which I think is appropriate.)
If you are developing for VR, content -- including 3D interactive apps, and 2D, 3D and spherical photos and videos -- can all be directly loaded from your computer to your smartphone and viewed on the GEAR VR. (You may need developer access to your phone to load the content.) App content can be created in either native OCULUS/ANDROID code, or using UNITY. Photos and video can be just standard photos and videos, created by an ordinary camera with an ordinary editor. But with special cameras and editors, it is possible to create full spherical 3D video content yourself.
Quite a bit of content, including some this weekend from the NYT, is available on the Play Store and other sites for Google CARDBOARD. But CARDBOARD -- at this point -- is still something of a toy. While it does have the ability to view 3D spherical videos -- so in that way it is like the GEAR VR -- it can be made by anybody and can lack "quality control". CARDBOARD made of cardboard, can be flimsy, may need to be held up by your hand, and have poor quality or mis-aligned lenses. Only CARDBOARD compatible devices made of plastic (NOT cardboard), which rest comfortably with some headband, no-hands, on your head, and are solidly made with high quality lenses, should be used. Cheap CARDBOARD is good only for a 15 second preview of real VR. (More than a few seconds of VR with a bad device can be very unpleasant.)
RECENT QPORIT STORIES ON VR
OCULUS DOCUMENTATION - FOR AN INSIDE LOOK AT VR
AND INSTRUCTIONS ON VIEWING YOUR OWN CONTENT THRU MILK VR
AN OUTLINE/OVERVIEW/SURVEY/RESOURCE LIST FOR XR
XR (eXtended Reality) = VR + AR + MR + ...