Samsung to unveil virtual reality headset at IFA trade show -- report

The device will appear at the September consumer-electronics show, says a report, and was developed with help from Facebook-owned Oculus VR.

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Sony's Project Morpheus Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung is indeed getting into the virtual reality market, but the company has received some help from Facebook's Oculus VR, according to a new report.

Samsung is planning to unveil a virtual reality device in September at Berlin's at IFA 2014 consumer-electronics trade show, a report from Samsung-tracking site Sammobile claims. Samsung worked with Facebook's recently acquired Oculus VR to develop the device, according to the report.

The claim that Oculus VR worked with Samsung on its virtual reality headset stands in stark contrast to a report in May from Engadget. At that time, the gadget site said Samsung was indeed working on a virtual reality headset but was planning to go up against Oculus VR's Oculus Rift and Sony's Project Morpheus virtual reality headsets. That report also claimed that Samsung would ensure that the device would work with its line of mobile devices, including the Galaxy S5 and the Note 3.

The device Samsung is working on will be known as the Gear VR, according to Sammobile, and will be capable of having a Galaxy device docked into it for additional functionality. The device will feature head-tracking and uses a Galaxy smartphone's accelerometer and gyroscope to follow a user's movement.

Sammobile says the device, which is shown in a red color on its site, includes a "see-through button" that will let users look out into the real world without taking the headset off. A touchpad under the see-through button lets users control the docked Samsung Galaxy smartphone from the headset.

Success in virtual reality has long been a desire of technology companies, but so far, none has been able to stand out in the marketplace. In the vast majority of cases, consumers are initially awed by a VR gadget's functionality, but they fail to heavily adopt such devices.

Still, it's clear that some of the biggest companies in the industry are believers in the technology. Facebook, after all, acquired Oculus for $2 billion for its virtual-reality tech, and Google has unveiled its own option, known as Cardboard. Now that Samsung is getting into the mix to take on Sony's Project Morpheus, some of the largest firms in the space are investing heavily in virtual reality.

In a statement to CNET, Samsung declined to comment on the rumor but did say that the company is "committed to relentless innovation, and new products are always in development, but at this time we don't have any information to share on the speculation on a virtual reality product."

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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