The Samsung Gear VR -- the goggles that turn a Galaxy Note 4 phablet smartphone into a virtual-reality cinema -- will finally go on sale at the retail level Friday. Initially, the Gear VR Innovator Edition will be exclusively offered through Best Buy outlets, where it will sell for $199.99.
Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and the virtual-reality pros at the Oculus unit of Facebook Inc. collaborated on the Gear VR, which gives a user an immersive 360-degree view of various environments. The headset works with a host of applications and games developed by Oculus, which are available through the Oculus Store.
With Oculus’ parent Facebook having announced the introduction of 360-degree spherical videos to its news feeds, additional purposes for the Gear VR are right on the horizon.
Customers will be able to purchase the Gear VR at one of 100 Best Buy locations at first. Additional sites will offer the headset throughout the year. It will also be available at the retailer’s online site, and those interested can demo the Gear VR before buying at select Best Buy locations.
Bear in mind that the Samsung Gear VR works only with a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 handset, which functions as the screen for the Gear VR. The Galaxy Note 4 sells for $299.99 with a two-year contract. However, various retailers are beginning to slash prices on it because of the impending launch of the Samsung Galaxy S6.
Best Buy is offering a $100 discount on the Galaxy Note 4 until March 29.
The Gear VR compatible with the Galaxy Note 4 is the first model available to the public. However, Samsung announced this month that there will be a Galaxy S6 Edition of the Gear VR, which will be compatible with the coming flagship device.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 reportedly will go on sale in U.S. stores April 10, but there is no word on when the Galaxy S6 Edition Gear VR will be availabile.