At this year’s Samsung’s Developer Conference in San Francisco, Samsung finally announced it’s Oculus and Note 4 powered Gear VR headset would be available in early December. A page was launched simultaneously for US enthusiasts to register their interest in the so called ‘Innovator Edition’. It seems there’s also a UK version of this page too.
Samsung upset more than a few VR enthusiasts around the world last week when they finally announced that their long awaited VR headset Gear VR would finally see the light of day in early December, but only on US soil. European VR fans were left hanging as to when they might be given the opportunity to grab the first commercially available VR headset, which leverages Oculus’ expertise to deliver a sub 20ms motion-to-photons experience, all powered by Samsung’s new phablet the Galaxy Note 4.
Well now a glimmer of hope. It seems that UK residents have their own registration page, one that wasn’t widely publicised during last week’s event. If you live in the UK, you can head to the page here now and fill in some basic details to let Samsung know you’re interested in being one of the first adopter of their Innovator Edition. Does this mean however that a UK version of the device could also see a release alongside the US in December? The timing seems right to suggest so, but Samsung’s rhetoric seemed fairly clear at the time, basically that this initial launch was a US only affair. So until we hear officially it seems still to be a US only release before Xmas.
The Innovator Edition of the Gear VR is seen by some as a way of following on from Oculus’ success with their developer kits, fueled initially by funds gathered via a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign. It allows the mobile phone giant to get this potentially groundbreaking bit of kit into developer’s and early adopters’ hands whilst keeping at arms length those who’s best experience will be had when they presumably launch a consumer ready version of the headset at a later date, one with any early issues ironed out.
No precise US launch date has yet been announced and no indication on when the rest of Europe might receive their own launch just yet. In addition, controversy surrounding what appears to be the different hardware configurations of the Note 4 phone powering Gear VR have sprung up too.
It seems there are two flavours of Note 4, one with a Quad Core Snapdragon 805 and Adreno 420 GPU chipset, the other with Samsung’s Exynos 7 Octa-core SOC (system on chip). Recently, John Carmack, CTO of Oculus and the man heading up Oculus’ collaboration with Samsung on the Gear VR, commented that the two configurations may not yet behave equally when used with the Gear VR. In a tweeted response to a direct question on the matter, it seems that the Octa-core variant may not be fairing as well in the performance stakes as it’s Quad-core conterpart.
@ID_AA_Carmack Hi John are you able to tell us yet if the Exynos version of the note4 will work with Gear vr yet? Thanks!
— Andrew Britton (@andrewbritton76) November 13, 2014
@andrewbritton76 it is running internally, but lagging Snapdragon performance a bit.
— John Carmack (@ID_AA_Carmack) November 13, 2014
Whether this is purely teething troubles on a newer chipset is as yet unclear, but as it seems the Octa-core version seems to be the version Samsung will be marketing in the US ahead of the Gear Vr’s launch, it’s worth keeping an eye on these reports should you be interested in adopting early. We’ll bring you more on this as we find it.
Thanks to /r/oculus and Twitter for the heads up on these stories.