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Virtual reality is all the rage right now. Smartphone manufacturers including Samsung, HTC and LG pushed new VR products at Mobile World Congress last week and the media was swooped. But are these devices simply companion products sold with smartphones, or are they really the next big thing? Read on for the details.

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The Gear VR could be the next big thing. / © ANDROIDPIT

Samsung’s VR fuss

Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge at Galaxy Unpacked last week, along with the Gear 360 - a camera that can be used to shoot VR videos right out of the box. But the company’s new flagships weren’t simply launched with a stage presentation as they are each year. VR headsets were placed on each attendee’s seat so they could watch the presentation unfold in virtual reality.

It was a fascinating addition to the launch event - particularly when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg walked on stage to champion the Samsung’s Gear VR headset, which comes free with every S7 and S7 Edge pre-order. Samsung’s push to sell VR headsets is no surprise, but why is the Facebook CEO also interested in it?

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The Gear 360 records VR videos. / © ANDROIDPIT

Mark Zuckerberg and VR

The Gear VR headset is ‘powered by Oculus’. Facebook acquired Oculus VR in March last year, paving the way for the social media giant to begin working on VR headsets and content to complement them. But what’s the connection between VR and Facebook, other than this acquisition?

There is huge potential for Facebook users to create videos that can be viewed with VR headsets such as the Oculus Rift. Mr Zuckerberg, a global influencer, spoke at length about this when he appeared at an MWC keynote presentation last week. According to the Facebook founder, people being able to “not just (share) a 2D video but a whole scene,” will be the next big trend on the internet.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at Unpacked 2016. / © ANDROIDPIT

Who else is crazy about VR?

Practically all the big players in the Android sphere are riding the VR train. HTC had live demos of the Vive headset at MWC - but its consumer edition is priced at a steep US$799. Do we need all the extra bells and whistles, such as full body-tracking sensors and a front-facing camera? It depends how immersive you want to get, really.

LG also showed off the 360 VR, an accessory that connects to the LG G5, and also the 360 Cam. The headset is like a plastic version of Google Cardboard, while the camera is similar to Samsung’s Gear 360. Let’s not forget Alcatel either - the company’s new Idol 4 smartphone was launched at MWC in plastic packaging that can be reassembled as a budget VR headset.

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Perhaps VR is simply another fad? / © ANDROIDPIT

Is it oversaturation?

The simultaneous push of VR products from multiple manufacturers begs the question: do we need it? Is this a coordinated attempt to convince the media to convince consumers that VR is the next big thing? Or is it a natural evolution of mobile technology? These kinds of questions are always hard to answer.

Even harder to answer - is VR just another tablet or smartphone craze? We saw huge buzz with these products during the past five years, but tablet sales are now dropping and smartwatch sales never really took off. Perhaps the VR headset and accessories like VR cameras are simply new products that we will fawn over for a year and then forget like a fad. Or perhaps they really are the next big thing. We’ll have to wait and see to find out.

What do you think of virtual reality tech? Have you tried it yet? Tell us in the comments.

9 comments

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  • Is vr the next more than a fad?
    Hell yea!
    Games education communication
    Being there in places your never going to see otherwise experiences your not otherwise going to experience
    Thats surely why games consoles even exist
    Why facebook and the like are multi million pound organizations.
    You are really going to have a short attention span not to be impressed.
    Are the more expensive computer options going to be the main driver ? Probaly not !
    But consoles and mobile phones are far more affordable.i would suggest they are the real future with computer systems coming in with highly expensive state of the art options for those who can afford the participation that these systems can clearly offer

  • I've seen a few videos of games, drawing programs, etc online. They look pretty neat but kinda get old after awhile. I think it's like any video game, its cool for a bit then gets old. I see it sticking around unlike 3D.

  • Coming from someone who actually has a cardboard (I have the Shinecon VR headset), I think it's amazing. Although most games out for it feel like demo scenes, there are some fun titles slowly emerging for mobile-device-based VR. Shooter games are more fun when you turn your head and are surprised to see an enemy sneaking up behind you. Even though most games get boring due to lack of content and it just seems like the head tracking is the real novelty, I think as more games that are actually fun and engaging hit the market the replay value will go up.

  • VitaMan M 9 months ago Link to comment

    How does this article deliver what its title promises? Publicity rehash and generalized speculation doesn't answer *WHY* VR will be a *FAD*. As far as Zuckerberg is concerned, I recall Steve Job's yet unfounded prediction that cities will be built around Segways. Jury's still out on the fad to dismiss Trump as a fad. Talk about alternate reality...

  • rick 9 months ago Link to comment

    just anouther flash in the pan of life. when it becomes so you don't have to have carboard box things, and do these wierd things to see 3d, then maybe it will be like what color tv became. Im sure the porn addicts will appreciate it. do you really need 3d? Just give me a awesome S7. or some other good quality device.

  • 799 dollars are you kidding me?Google cardboard just costs 10-15$

  • Sorry not getting excited about this! problely go the same way as 3d?

    • Victor 9 months ago Link to comment

      Peter is right, it will probably be used in the near future as we use 3d now.

    • When did 3d ever have the following?
      Unlike vr which given the responce from developers is clearly something else!

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