If you follow my Youtube channel or this website, you’ll know I’m pretty excited about the emergence of virtual reality and 360 cameras. Aside from Google Cardboard (which I’ve documented many times), I’ve been most impressed with the combination of the Samsung Gear VR with their Galaxy S6 line up (along with the Note 4 and 5).
That’s why this morning’s announcement from Samsung could take the consumer adoption of virtual reality into full mainstream mode, both in consuming and creating 360 video and photo content.
For those that haven’t yet heard, the new Samsung Galaxy S7 mobile phone continues with two models, a flat screen version and a larger screen with the familiar curved sides that users of the Galaxy S6 Edge have now been using for the past year. The S7 brings back two features from the S5 that were sorely missed in the S6, namely expandable memory and water resistance.
Aside from the usual spec upgrade though, it’s Samsung’s pre-sale promotional offer that is by itself interesting – a bonus Gear VR headset. For anyone who is even mildly interested in Virtual Reality will have heard about the Samsung-Oculus partnership, and if they are looking to upgrade their phone, this will be the best way to try VR out with no extra expense.
I’ve written and produced multiple videos on the Gear VR, some of which have had huge viewing numbers – a video in which I simply wore a Gear VR to watch a movie and then took it off and talked about the experience has had over one hundred thousand views. There is a lot of interest in VR, and it looks like 2016 is going to be the year where it moves out of the niche into the mainstream.
The addition of the Gear 360 camera, even though it is a relatively lo-res product, closes the loop on a full ecosystem where Galaxy phone users can consume, create and share their own 360 content. Given Samsung’s strong market presence, it’s safe to say that the amount of people diving into the world of virtual reality and immersive video content will explode this year.
As soon as I can get my hands on the new handsets and camera, I’ll be back with an in-depth report.
Until next time!