Monday, October 13, 2014

Zeiss VR One Brings Virtual Reality to More Smartphone Owners On The Cheap

Virtual Reality may soon start hitting the mainstream thanks to offering from companies like Oculus Rift and Samsung. However, up until now the prospects have remained slightly limited. Samsung's own offering, the Gear VR, will only work with the company's new Galaxy Note 4 and pricing is expected to be as much as $199 if not more.

Enter German optics manufacture Carl Zeiss. The company just announced the new VR One, a virtual reality headset for use with a smartphone. It's similar to the Gear VR by Samsung and Oculus, except at $100, it's going to be significantly cheaper and will work with a wider variety of smartphones. Zeiss says that unlike the Note 4-exclusive Gear VR, the Zeiss VR One will be compatible with both the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the 5.1-inch Samsung Galaxy S5, with support for other smartphone models between 4.7-inch and 5.2-inch in the pipeline.

The VR One has its own SDK for iOS and Android, and at launch there will be two different VR apps developed by Zeiss. The internal team at Zeiss developed two demo apps—a photo viewer and an AR proof of concept, however so far there is little information regarding app support or details as to whether or not developers have taken up the project.  Zeiss is planning a contest for developers, which they’ll publicize on a dedicated Tumblr page for the VR One. And if all goes well, before 2015 rolls around you’ll have a well-built mobile VR solution that won’t break the bank.

Up for pre-order now, the Zeiss VR One has a price tag of $99.99. This price not only includes the Zeiss VR One but also a smartphone tray, which will set you back $9.99 when bought alone. The company expects the first units to “ship before Christmas 2014.”

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