Technology

Samsung launches web browser for its Gear VR headset

Samsung’s Gear VR virtual reality headset, which launched in November, provides a solid wayto watch a video or show off a demo, but stumbles where it counts the most: it lacks content.

Now, Samsung takes a step to fix that with Samsung Internet for Gear VR, a web browser that lets you browse content on the Internet directly from your Gear VR instead of downloading it onto your phone beforehand.

The browser supports voice recognition, and it also has an on-screen keyboard for input. A special mode of operation called Gaze Mode lets you select menus simply by looking at them. On the content side, it supports 360-degree and 3D-video streaming as well as regular HTML5 videos.

Samsung Gear VR keyboard

IMAGE: SAMSUNG

With 360-degree videos now being supported both by YouTube and Facebook, Samsung’s VR browser makes sense as there’s actually plenty of content for the Gear VR out there.

The Gear VR itself made a lot of progress since we tested its Innovator Edition in February 2015 — its price fell from $199 to $99, and the number of supported devices was expanded to include Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+, Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note 5. While the jury on Samsung’s web browser is still out, the entire package looks a lot more attractive, especially for folks that already own a Samsung smartphone, than it did a year ago.

Samsung Internet for Gear VR will be available as a beta version in the Oculus Store starting Dec. 2.

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