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Virtual reality steals the show at Samsung Launch

Virtual reality steals the show at Samsung Launch

ID-100160868With competition continuing to increase in the handset market, Samsung Electronics is getting serious about virtual reality in order to distinguish its smartphones. Last week, at the Mobile World Congress – one of the tech industry’s largest events for mobile products – the South Korean manufacturer announced two new Galaxy smartphones (S7 and S7 Edge) along with Gear 360, a camera for recording virtual reality videos.

The Gear 360 accompanies Samsung’s Gear VR, the virtual reality headset that the company developed with Facebook’s Oculus, which was released in November. The Gear 360 has two cameras — one on the front and one on the back — to allow consumers to shoot 360-degree videos. The videos can then be viewed through the Gear VR, which works only with Samsung’s Galaxy phones.

Leading up to the event, invitations and teasers for the event hinted at the virtual reality theme. All the participants at the event found a virtual reality headset on their seats when they arrived, while a freebie headset was given to everyone who showed up. And everyone had a chance to test it.

Gear 360 works with various Samsung phones, including the new Galaxy S7s as well as the Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+, with the phones acting as live viewfinder and remote control for recording controls. Those who want to do more editing will be able to do so on a PC or Mac. Also, the camera comes with its own built-in mini tripod, and works with standard ones. When people are done, they can upload their work to Facebook and YouTube, the two most popular channels for user-generated virtual-reality content.

  • Facebook plans to explore virtual reality potential beyond games

Actually, the second star of the show was none other than Facebook Inc. founder Mark Zuckerberg, who made a surprise appearance at Samsung’s Mobile World Congress press conference. He revealed that Facebook has also created a “social VR” team to explore virtual reality technology’s potential beyond games, as it prepares for the consumer launch of its Oculus Rift VR headset.

Samsung made its virtual reality debut in September 2014. Now, the company is sending the message that it’s serious about virtual reality, and nothing got that message across more clearly than a real in-the-flesh appearance from Mark Zuckerberg.

In terms of costs, Samsung did not reveal price details on the new products. However, they did mention the phones will be released on March 11 in the United States, and the Gear 360 will be available later this year.

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