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Samsung Updates Its Gear VR Headset With a Wireless Controller, Introduces New Gear 360 Camera

Variety logo Variety 3/29/2017 Janko Roettgers
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Samsung used its Unpacked event in New York Wednesday to introduce the next version of its Gear VR headset as well as a new Gear 360 camera alongside of its new Galaxy S8 phone.

The new headset works very similar to the existing version of the Gear VR, save for one key difference: Instead of an integrated touch pad, the new Gear VR uses an external handheld controller for in-VR navigation and gameplay.

Samsung’s new Gear 360 shoots 4K 360-degree video, and is capable of streaming live video in 360 on Facebook and elsewhere. The Gear 360 camera will ship some time this spring, but the company didn’t reveal any price point for the device on Wednesday. Samsung’s Gear VR will cost $130, but customers may be able to take advantage of bundled prices if they also buy a new Galaxy S8 phone.

In addition to these hardware updates, Samsung also worked with Oculus to optimize some of the software experience of the Gear VR headset. Oculus completely rebuilt the home screen of its mobile VR software, and promised 3-times faster app loading, plus a much higher image resolution that will make better use of the screen real estate.

Oculus also launched a native web browser on Gear VR Wednesday, and Samsung and Oculus announced that 20 VR titles with dedicated support for the new motion controller are going to be available in April. 50 additional titles are scheduled to ship in the coming months.

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