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Comparison to Google Cardboard

edepotedepot Posts: 16
edited October 2014 in Samsung Gear VR
Can someone explain what are the main differences between Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard clones?
If the Gear VR is going to be charging more than a simple cardboard, then it must have features greater than
just plugging a Note 4 into a Google Cardboard clone (we are assuming using same mobile phone).

From the Connect event, I assume the Gear VR will only be providing a faster Gyroscope and Magnet orientation detection? But since it would be going through USB 1.1 wouldn't the speed be limited? How must faster would an external gyro passing through USB 1.1 to the Note 4 when compared to simply using the Note 4's internal gyro in a Google Cardboard?

If the Note 4 already provides low GPU access to the buffer, why would you need the Gear VR? Thanks for any answers.

Here is the Google Cardboard (DodoCase):


  • JotokutoraJotokutora Posts: 204
    Hiro Protagonist
    edited October 2014
    I can not confirm this, but expect that the only way that you will attain the low level hardware access will be through the Gear VR headset. If you could just use any case, Samsung would loose investment money on manufacturing the units. I am not sure if they will control the access via some kind hardware ID detection or what not.

    A short answer is, you can use cardboard, but I would expect not to use full performance. I am speculating though!
  • ccp001ccp001 Posts: 232
    Brain Burst
    gear VR is specifically made for the samsung and wont fall apart in 2 weeks of usage
  • edepotedepot Posts: 16
    OK, lets flesh out the politics here.

    If Samsung does not sell the Gear VR, they won't actually lose out. People need the Note 4, which provides the low level GPU access. Since this is such a niche product its not like they are going to be selling millions of Gear VR. But they WILL be selling millions of Note 4. Their primary purpose is to make money off of Note 4, that is why Gear VR piggybacks on Note 4. Just like they do not sell lots of Gear watches, which require Samsung phones. It would be stupid for Samsung to force buying Gear watches if they have Note 4 and want to connect to watches. Else it won't work with Android or other watches. Samsung would rather force people to use Note 4 (or other samsung phones) when you buy Gear watches, and that is their main goal. So I do not think they will make Gear VR mandatory for VR on Samsung phones, else it won't work with Google Cardboard or other VR products on the Android train.

    I think Oculus selling Gear VR is the main concern here. Maybe it is their product that they wish to have profit from. Samsung Note 4 offering low level GPU access is a good thing. In fact I personally think they should just get rid of Java and offer everything in C (like the Linux kernel that is underneath android). Otherwise, everything on Android is slow right now, forcing developers to go through ugly stuff just to do it in C anyways. If Samsung simply open sources their "gateway to C" or "gateway to low level access" on all Samsung phones, it may make them rich with another marketplace. Oculus may benefit if Gear VR is not required to trigger gateway to low level access routines on Samsung phones. But I understand Oculus is probably in the hardware manufacturing profit side, and not the software profit side? Maybe Oculus can make more money offering a marketplace for VR software helping Samsung, thus no need to do hardware ID checks?

    Which comes down to developers of games or apps. They want the largest market possible. Forcing people to buy Gear VR will actually limit the number of people who can enjoy low level access fast framerate games on Samsung phones. (Wish Google can do this on all Android phones, not just Samsung). It is such a niche within a niche now that the main priority is the marketplace size. Lets say only 5% buys Gear VR. Samsung probably only has about 40% max on the marketplace for Android, and Android has 50% for all Smartphones? (making up the figures). Thats 5% of 40% of 50% of all smartphones. That about 1% of all smartphone users!

    Look at Apple, they already opened up direct access (or at least close to it) via the Metal api. Maybe this low gpu access thing should be opened up to everyone on Android, or else if Apple gets more popular how can Android even compete in it? Maybe Oculus should make a HMD for Apple's Metal too (or get even lower access like they did with Samsung by talking to Apple directly).
  • JotokutoraJotokutora Posts: 204
    Hiro Protagonist
    Alright, you have argumented some interesting points. VR is indeed a niche market at this current time, but it will grow for sure. Now lets us put more into the equation.

    1. Gear VR is the"most" commercial ready product from Oculus, but the name "Innovators Edition" is just a fancy name for a Beta product.

    2. Because it is a "Beta", it will not be heavily marketed on the a typical conventional manner. This seems more of a testing phase of dissemination, and study of market penetration.

    3. Goal, it has been clear that Oculus goal is to offer the best experience of VR to the consumer, and frankly speaking we have to questions what other Oculus competitors are bringing to the table to offer that. If competitors offer negative impressions on VR to a new and fragile market, that could affect them by association.

    4. Rift Tracker, it is said that the tracker powering the 1:1 head motion comes embedded on the Gear VR and not the phone. The tracker runs at 1OOOhz, and that is very important for reducing latency, meaning another way to eliminate the cause for getting sick. No current phone has a suitable head tracker for VR, they are running usually at 1OOhz. Even if using other VR cases, you will still prone to dizziness from lack of proper hardware support optimized for the best possible performance in all technical and design areas, therefore limiting a great VR experience. This connects to the goal of offering great VR, so I would assume that excludes Oculus wanting other headsets that don't meet their standards to take advantage of their exclusive deal marriage with Samsung when releasing the Gear VR.

    5. If Samsung invest research and development resources on a product, it is to be expected to want a return on that investment. Nothing is for free.

    I agree, that Oculus indeed seem to "want" to propagate VR, by even welcoming competition. But what I have read is that they want to promoted "good" VR, so people don't shy away in the crucial first steps of the evolution of the market.

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