MWC 2016: Samsung Gear VR backed by Zuckerberg

Samsung and Facebook unveil virtual reality partnership at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

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MWC 2016: Samsung Gear VR backed by Zuckerberg Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg made a guest appearance on the Samsung stage to promote virtual reality as ‘most social platform’ (Getty Images)
By  Aasha Bodhani Published  February 22, 2016

Mobile World Congress 2016, a tech conference for major mobile announcements, took a surprising twist yesterday when Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a surprise guest appearance to talk about virtual reality.

At the launch of Samsung's Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge smartphones, Samsung also unveiled its Gear 360, a new 360 degree camera which will partner with the smartphones.

Zuckerberg revealed that Facebook, which is the parent company of Oculus, is bringing its streaming technology for 360 degree video to Samsung's Gear VR handsets.

The Gear 360 records videos or still photographs 360 degrees all around, this then can be played back in a 360 degree video player, such as YouTube 360 or Facebook. The device connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth and an app transforms it into a viewfinder and production studio. Once the recording is complete, the app will piece it all together.

Zuckerberg called VR ‘the most social platform' and urged millions to buy the Gear VR headsets.

Furthermore, analysts IHS Technology predicts Samsung's Gear 360 VR camera will boost Galaxy S7 smartphone sales.  

Ian Fogg, head of mobile analysis at HIS Technology said: "Samsung smartphones will outsell the Gear 360 by over one thousand times this year. But the Gear 360 is critical to help Samsung to persuade consumers it is time to upgrade their two or three year old smartphones, which cannot benefit from new VR experiences teased by the Gear 360. In effect, Gear 360 is a marketing vehicle for the Galaxy S7, as well as for Samsung's Gear VR headset."

 

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