Partners Facebook and Samsung to Launch VR Social Network Experience
Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg believed the future of social network is in Virtual Reality. Last year, Facebook acquired Oculus, a VR company. Now they partner with Samsung to make mobile VR experience come to life.
As Computer World reported, Oculus VR, the virtual reality company owned by Facebook, recently released an app called Oculus Social alpha. This app is made to work for Samsung Gear VR, a virtual reality device made by the Korean electronic giant. Oculus Social is a virtual reality movie-watching app. It enable users to choose their own avatar and move around a movie theater and chat with other people, as if they are in the actual movie theater.
Samsung announced their Samsung Gear VR as their collaborative project with Oculus in September last year. The announcement is targeted for developers to create software and content for the device. The consumer version is planned to release this month. The device can be powered with Samsung smartphones Galaxy Note 4, Note 5, Galaxy S6 and Galaxy 6 Edge. The VR device itself acts as a high field view lense and inertial measurement unit for rotational tracking, while connected to smartphone. The device will have $99 price tag.
However, Google think that virtual reality experience should be available and affordable to every one. Clay Bavor, leader of Google virtual-reality project, said to MIT Review, "Virtual reality will have an important role to play in entertainment, communications, work, and learning," He also explained Google Cardboard, virtual reality project will make the VR experience affordable to everyone. Cardboard is a VR platform which can be assembled using a folded cardboard to mount a smartphone. In order to encourage people's interest in developing VR application, Google released SDK for its cardboard application for Android and iPhone. Google Cardboard can be used for both iPhone and Android smartphone. Google also started to send Cardboard kits to schools with app to help teacher in classroom, consisting of 3-D tour of a coral reef, Machu Picchu or other places. So students can experience those places without having to leave classroom.
Google's idea to develop affordable VR device for education also shared by Oculus founder.Business Insider reported that Palmer Luckey said in the Dublin Web Summit of how Virtual Reality helps student by allowing them to learn in new, immersive ways. Luckey said that classroom is broken, because students don't learn well just by reading books. Therefore, VR technologies could be used to help students.
Last year, Facebook spent $2 billion to acquire Oculus, because Mark Zuckerberg really believe in VR as the future of social network. Now, teaming up with Samsung, Oculus prepares to launch the first virtual reality social networking on Samsung Gear VR device this month. It is interesting to see if Facebook's bet is paid off.