The era of 3D screens on smartphones may have come and gone, but the dream that we can still build portable displays that convey some sort of useful depth information continues to linger. Sometimes that takes the form of a product like Amazon’s Fire phone, using software to simulate depth on a 2D panel. We’ve also talked about efforts to work with virtual-reality-style headsets, like plans for eventual Oculus Rift Android support, or Google’s own DIY Cardboard system from I/O this year. Samsung’s a name that’s popped up in this VR talk more than once, with rumors that it might be developing a headset of its own. Today we get a better sense for just what it could be planning, as a new leak attempts to detail Samsung Gear VR.
Functionally, this sounds a lot like Google Cardboard: there’s no dedicated VR display, and instead the user would slide his or her smartphone into the Gear VR headset, where it would then act as the wearable’s screen. A USB 3.0 connection would let the phone talk to the rest of the Gear VR hardware, which could include a Glass-style touchpad on the side and a button that would quickly call up the view from the phone’s rear camera, effectively letting you see “through” the Gear VR and out into the world around you.
Oculus VR is reportedly helping Samsung with the software side of things, which could go a long way towards making this feel more like a polished product. The source behind this info also indicates that an IFA launch is likely, alongside the Note 4.
One note on the image you see above: while it arrived alongside this report on how Gear VR would work, the original seemed to be in a compressed aspect ratio (the circles shown for the touchpad and see-through button initially appeared more as ovals), so we’ve stretched the pic to return it to (what appears to be) its natural aspect ratio.