At Samsung’s 2014 Developer Conference, it was finally announced that the Gear VR ‘Innovator Edition’ headset, powered by Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 mobile phone, would be released in early December. The Note 4’s latest software update (v4.4.4) indicates Samsung is on track to deliver and reveals what might be in store for early adopters.
After a long wait for confirmation of Samsung‘s first foray into the virtual reality sphere, Gear VR was officially announced to the world at IFA 2014 in September. However, the company didn’t reveal specific release date, only being as specific as “this year.” Then, at SDC 2014, it was finally confirmed that the mobile VR headset, developed in conjunction with Oculus, would reach stores in the US in “early December.” Soon after, Oculus announced the availability of their mobile SDK, allowing developers not privy to previous private builds access to start creating games for the mobile VR platform.
Now it seems Samsung are preparing for that launch window as Note 4 owners in the US are reporting that the latest software update for their phone brings with it the ability to side load and run .apk’s (Android‘s native application format) taken from Oculus’ mobile SDK. What’s more, Reddit user riftmuckel and UniversalChairs found that, after running the Oculus 360 Video application with the latest update a Gear VR software download reveals several titles that are likely to be part of the system’s launch offering.
Apps still cannot be started as yet, as they require the Note 4 to be attached to a functional Gear VR unit, but the above screenshots (uploaded by another Redditor UniversalChairs) seem to confirm titles such as Titans of Space, Darknet and Proton Pulse may be ready to go once the headset is available. Alongside that, previously confirmed Oculus Gear VR companion apps Gear VR Video, VR Gallery and Oculus Home all seem to receive updates as part of this process.
Still no official word on precisely when the Gear VR hardware will land in stores unfortunately, although you can buy the required Samsung Galaxy Note 4 handset right now. How the recently highlighted CPU differences might affect Gear VR performance initially is also unknown.
We’ll let you know as we uncover more details on Gear VR’s impending launch.