The Gear Innovator VR Edition will now allow you to experience a 3-D world other than the 3-D world you're interacting in on the daily, in a new mobile experience. The Samsung-partnered Oculus device is powered by the Note 4, Samsung's popular phablet line. If you're not familiar with the cringey term phablet (I have one; doesn't make me like the term any more), it's a device that's between a smart phone and a tablet in size. Phablets have a lot of pluses and minuses, but when you have childlike hands like me, pretty much every smart phone on the market is a two-handed device. So why not go big?
The device, which is currently in beta and available to both developers and fans, uses the Note 4's CPU and GPU to power itself. Because the headgear requires using the Note 4 to run it, connecting the two via microUSB is required. However, once you're wearing your Gear and it's connected to your Note 4, you're ready to sit back and relax, enjoying your new virtual world. This can make your transit commute more enjoyable, get rid of the scenery of pesky nature next time you're at a park, and even pave the way to Ready Player One becoming a reality.
The culmination of that work is Gear VR Innovator Edition, an add-on to the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4, using the phone’s GPU/CPU to power the device and the Quad HD low-persistence 5.7 inch 1440p AMOLED screen as the display. One of the best aspects of mobile VR is the completely untethered, easy-to-use experience: you connect the Note 4 to the headset, you put it on, and you’re in. That level of accessibility, combined with Oculus software to easily launch and transition between VR applications without taking the headset off, really makes the experience magical.
Along with a new mobile device comes a new Oculus Mobile SDK for developers to work with. One of the additions of the Mobile SDK uses the phone's sensors. I would expect that this includes the accelerometer, which is the sensor that detects when you're tilting your phone around, and is one of the reasons why mobile games can do neat things like letting you use your phone as a steering wheel for racing games.
The Innovator Edition also has four newly developed parts of the interface from Oculus. Oculus Home is the main part, which includes a built-in store, where you can buy all of your virtual reality 3-D goodies. Not only will you buy content here, but you can also use this to launch the content you own. Oculus Cinema is the part of the UI that allows you to play both 2-D and 3-D movies. To view pictures and videos, there are Oculus Photos and Oculus Videos. Even though this is a beta stage for the device, it already comes with a good amount of UI additions to allow the user to perform a variety of tasks in environments that are specifically tailored to the device.
What do you think about a mobile version of the Oculus? Will you be bringing yours along with you, or do you view folks out in the wild with these as a different type of Glasshole? Do you foresee another ZeniMax dig with this announcement, or do you think they're finally done barking up that tree? Do you have a Note that you want to hook up to the Innovator Edition? Would you be looking into one if other phones were capable of working with it? You know the drill – tell us all your feels in the comments below!