One of the biggest challenges that Oculus Rift faces is the fact that you’ll have to keep the headset connected to your PC the whole time. It’s not as binding as you probably think, but it’s probable that will keep you stranded on a chair for the duration of your gaming experience. Companies like Google, and Samsung, have funded a different kind of VR, one that is powered by our mobile devices, namely our smartphones.
Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR are two solutions to the mobility problem that the Rift poses. The Cardboard boasts as being the “dirty cheap” solution, and probably acts as an introduction to the whole experience. With as low as $20 to buy everything you’ll need to make your own Cardboard, it’s a cool feature that Google currently advertises.
First things first. Google Cardboard does a great job showing what virtual reality is capable for, but not as good of a job at making it pleasurable. There are devices out there that probably have the ability to reproduce a close enough effect to the Rift and other similar products, but smartphones are not PCs, and that difference should always remain in our mind while we test different Cardboard apps.
Google Cardboard can also be called “educational virtual reality”, meaning that people who decide to buy a cardboard to test virtual reality will probably do it for educational purposes and not so much for entertainment. It’s a good choice if you want to confirm that you want to take the next step into adopting this new technology. However, Gear VR does a better job at convincing you.
Gear VR has the same concept as Google Cardboard, but also adds a cool design and some clever techniques to enhance the whole experience. The only devices that can currently use Gear VR are Samsung Galaxy 6 Edge, Edge Plus and of coure, Note 5. It’s understandable, if you want to have the best experience in a pretty confined environment, like a smartphone.
Already available for only $100, you can buy the Gear VR and start experiencing virtual reality. There are some problems, of course, like overheating and big battery consumption, but the greatest part of the people that took a taste of what mobile VR is, say that virtual reality is here, and it’s probably here to stay.
Now, returning to Oculus Rift. We can’t expect smartphones to compete against $1000 PCs that are capable to run top notch, triple-A games easily. However, what we can expect for Samsung to compete against the Rift is the availability that Gear VR and Google Cardboard offer to the average users. It’s not easy to pick between those two technologies, since there are different things that mobile VR is good at over the Rift. What makes both of them special is the fact that most companies in the department are practically cooperating to create this new technology.
Oculus VR shared its expertise with Samsung to create Gear VR, and Samsung offered her superb optics and screen technology to Oculus to help them with their development. If this is not a reason to actually believe that VR will be a thing in the near future then I don’t know what is.
Until then, keep checking our site for more VR related news. We expect Oculus VR to release its first “consumer version” Oculus Rift during Q1, 2016. Gear VR is already available for the models I mentioned above.