Samsung enters virtual reality arena with Gear VR headset

Samsung partners with Oculus Rift for headset, but did not provide release date

Samsung Gear VR

Samsung Gear VR

Samsung is set to let gearheads explore their alter-egos in cyberspace with its new Gear VR virtual-reality device, which will work in conjunction with the company's new Galaxy Note 4 handset.

Branded as a "a new species of device," the virtual reality headset will provide 360-degree "immersive entertainment," said John Pleasants, executive vice president at Samsung during a press conference in New York. Samsung is holding events in New York, Beijing and at the IFA show in Berlin Wednesday to announce the Gear VR device and the Note 4.

"This next big thing is here," Pleasants said.

The Gear VR plugs into to the Galaxy Note 4, from which it pulls 360-degree images. Users can put on the headset to get a full 3D virtual reality experience from the images.

The Galaxy Note 4 has a processor capable of rendering 4K video at a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, which provides the basis for an immersive 3D experience on the headset.

The company will partner will developers and content providers to create more content for the virtual reality headset, Pleasants said.

To create the Gear VR headset, Samsung teamed up with Oculus Rift, one of the big names in the virtual reality market. Google is exploring virtual reality with its Project Tango tablet, which has depth-sensing to explore and register 3D objects. Sony also offers a virtual reality headset.

The Gear VR headset was announced alongside the Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Edge smartphones Wednesday.

Samsung did not say when it would release the Gear VR.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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