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Samsung releases 3D internet browser for Gear VR

By Stephen Schenck December 1, 2015, 4:57 pm

VR headsets for smartphones may be a lot of fun, and chock full of potential, but there are some very real stumbling blocks lying in the way of all they stand to offer. One of the big ones concerns the app situation, and in order for software to work with something like a Google Cardboard viewer or Samsung’s Gear VR in any kind of useful way, it’s going to need to be custom-designed for just such uses; you can’t simply flip a “VR” switch in a run-of-the-mill app and suddenly get a 3D experience. Instead, devs need to sit down and work out not just the 3D-viewing bit of that equation, but also the interface – how will you interact with an app when you can no longer touch the screen? We saw Google deliver a long-overdue update for its Android YouTube app last month that brought VR-viewer support to all its videos – 3D or not – and now Samsung’s tackling a similar challenge as its releases a special web browser just for the Gear VR.

Samsung Internet for Gear VR, as the browser goes by, hits two main notes: it lets users view 3D and 360-degree panoramic streaming video embedded in web pages, and it gives them a no-touchscreen-required way to access the web.

The app pulls that latter trick off through a combination of voice recognition and an on-screen keyboard. There’s also a gaze-tracking system that enables users to interact with webpage elements, letting users select menu items just by looking at them. We’re curious to give it a try for ourselves and see just how well the system ultimately works, but it sounds like Samsung is trying to trying to hit all the right notes here.

Samsung’s browser should be available either today or tomorrow in the Oculus Store for devices supporting the Gear VR headset.

gear-vr-web-1

url: public://2015/12/gear-vr-web-2.jpg alt: gear-vr-web-2 align: center

Source: Samsung

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