How mobile devices are making VR more accessible

Sponsored feature: presented by Samsung Canada


#GALAXYLIFE Toronto. Get first-look access to the new Samsung Galaxy Note8 and attend inspiring Achiever talks. September 1-14, 2017. 11 am – 9 pm, daily. 160 Front West. Facebook event info here.


Virtual reality systems provide users with all-encompassing experiences that heighten the senses, but they often come with single-purpose use that can prevent many casual VR explorers from discovering this technology.

The answer VR fans have been waiting for could come with increasingly powerful mobile devices like the new Samsung Galaxy Note8, which will be revealed in Toronto at a two-week event featuring a variety of hands-on activities (details above). Many new product releases like this feature enhanced screens and sound quality along with faster processing and stronger connectivity. These all combine to expand the possibilities for interacting with your phone.

Samsung’s Gear VR headsets range in price from $100 to $200 and are compatible with more recent Galaxy mobile devices. You simply insert your phone into the unit and use one of the 800-plus apps that are available. While hardcore VR users will likely seek out the larger desktop systems, these new sophisticated smartphones and variety of peripheral devices can provide comparable experiences to a much broader audience.

The entertainment options available to users also reflect that broad appeal. While VR typically means actively participating with invented environments – whether you’re gaming or exploring dream-like landscapes – the growing visual capabilities on mobile devices also introduce new possibilities for more passive entertainment viewing that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.

Netflix already offers a VR app that lets you watch your regular 2D shows on a big screen TV inside a cozy cabin. Recent partnerships between companies like Samsung and Live Nation also provide intimate access to live concerts. In the future, we could also see VR enter more mainstream television series. Imagine literally following your favourite characters through an episode of Game of Thrones.

With mass accessibility to VR there must also be mass appeal, and that means the race is on for that one big app that will capture the attention of a global audience – similar to how Angry Birds led the transformation of a huge demographic of smartphone users into casual mobile gamers.

One way companies are managing this is through experiential activations, or free public events where attendees can see and touch the devices themselves. From now until September 14, Toronto digital buffs will be able to take a closer look at one of these next generation, VR-capable smartphones with the unveiling of the Samsung Galaxy Note8, which features the company’s biggest smartphone screen to date at 6.3 inches.

Activities at this event will include free workshops and talks, as well as an opportunity to ride the Whiplash VR machine (pictured below). This ride heightens the VR experience by physically moving you in sync with the virtual world you’re seeing through a Samsung Gear VR headset. 

Multi-purpose mobile devices like these offer greater potential for VR to grab the attention of a tech-hungry audience. And that means eye-shrouding headsets could become a more common sight in the very near future.

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