Earlier this year, Samsung announced its Oculus-powered Gear VR headset around this time last year, and promised an immersive virtual reality experience for users. In early December, Samsung opened the floodgates by releasing the Gear VR Innovator Edition, which was available to purchase at a steep price of $199.
$199 is a lot to ask of people who want to just dip their toes into the VR experience. On the other end of the spectrum, you have Google Cardboard which can be had for around $10 or so — there has to be a comfortable middle ground. Thankfully, Samsung is showing us the way with a new Gear VR headset which is shipping in November. It will be priced at a more wallet-friendly $99 and will work with all flagship Galaxy smartphones that were introduced this year (Galaxy S6/Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy Note 5/Galaxy S6 Edge+).
Compared to the previous model, the new, cheaper Gear VR also features a redesigned trackpad to provide greater control. In addition, it is also 22 percent lighter than the Innovator Edition and included redesigned foam cushioning which together will make for a more comfortable experience for users.
“We see virtual reality as the next computing platform, and we are thrilled to partner with Oculus on Gear VR to set the standard for mobile VR and bring this revolutionary product to consumers,” said JK Shin, the CEO and President of Samsung Electronics’ IT & Mobile Division. “On Gear VR, people are playing immersive VR games with friends, sharing 360 video experiences, and teleporting around the world with photos and videos – and it’s only the beginning for what’s possible with mobile VR,” added Oculus CEO Brenden Iribe.
Samsung says that the new Gear VR will be available before Black Friday, and it will only be available (at least initially) in Frost White.