Samsung has just unveiled the long-awaited Gear VR in Berlin, its case for mobile devices powered by Oculus, and it did just as expected, with the new Galaxy Note 4. At the moment they have not revealed price or availability, but about the latter they have assured that it will be before the end of the year. Thus, the first commercial Oculus product will come from the hand of Samsung.
Engadget has published a complete report in which they comment on the details and confirm many of the rumors of recent months: Oculus has collaborated in the creation of the same, in fact the device has the logo “Powered by Oculus” on the sides (no trace of Facebook, by the way). According to their impressions, the image is very sharp, with no noticeable lag between head movements and updating the screen, and the user interface is very good. Of course, the graphic quality is much inferior to what can be seen on a PC with Oculus Rift, but the graphics are not everything and they are of the opinion that it can provide a great virtual reality experience
The wheel at the top is striking, which allows the lenses to be focused and eliminating the need for different types of lenses for myopia, and hopefully Oculus will think of the same for the commercial version of the Rift. It is absurd to have to change lenses based on our vision, and a commercial product must be adjustable for all types of users.
What they do confirm on Engadget is the absence of absolute positioning. This was something we didn’t mind at first with the DK1, but once you’ve tried it with the DK2 it’s hard to give it up. Therefore, if we move forward, backward or sideways with Gear VR, the virtual world will not change its perspective, and neither will it if we bend down. It will only pick up the turns of our head, as the DK1 did. As for the viewing angle, it seems that it is located between the DK2 and the DK1, reaching 96º, although the refresh rate of the Note 4 is 60 Hz and, therefore, we understand that there is no low persistence in this device.
Gear VR has physical buttons, and one of them is to activate the smartphone’s camera and work as an augmented reality device, although with some lag as they comment on Engadget. And as for the software shown, it seems that at the moment they have been able to watch a few videos in 360º and they know that Samsung has commented that it is already negotiating with Hollywood to bring content
On the other hand, and as we read on the Oculus website, the first version is the so-called ‘Innovators Edition’, a kind of Development Kit with which some developers can start preparing applications for the landing of the commercial version later this year. John Carmack and the Oculus team have spent more than a year leading this effort, dividing the time between creating an Oculus SDK for mobile and optimizing Android and GPU drivers for virtual reality. Some of these improvements include:
- Allow calibrated sensors to communicate directly with the kernel driver
- Enable multitasking application processes at guaranteed clock speeds
- GPU rendering prioritized according to the context, allowing asynchronous time warp
- Bufferless display surfaces to minimize latency
- Support of low persistence modes to improve comfort, visual stability and reduction of motion blur
The GearVR uses the latest version of the Oculus Mobile SDK and a variant of the Oculus tracker for 3DOF tracking, with a total latency of less than 20 ms, equivalent to the most optimized experiences of the DK2.
This ‘Innovator Edition’ launches with four experiences developed by Oculus: Oculus Home, Oculus Cinema, Oculus 360 Videos and Oculus 360 Photos.