With all the coverage lavished on “proper” VR devices like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, it might be too easy to forget the VR headset that was already in the market way ahead of those two. Made by Samsung in partnership with Oculus, the Gear VR is almost like a poor man’s VR (though the real poor man’s VR would be the original Google Cardboard), lettings users experience VR more easily. Provided they have the latest Samsung smartphone, of course. Now Samsung is expanding its headset’s coverage by adopting what is to be the VR standard for the Web called, what else, WebVR.
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However, WebVR itself is still in its infancy, so not everything might work as desired. That said, Samsung admits that the browser so far only supports the deprecated API, which means the parts that will soon be obsolete. However, this first release will hopefully serve as the launchpad for updating to more recent WebVR APIs shortly. In addition to supporting WebVR, Samsung Internet for Gear VR also gets some other features in the latest update. One nifty feature is that any web page you are browsing on the Samsung Internet browser for Android will automatically show up on the Gear VR browser when you attach your smartphone to the headset.
After having a dedicated Web browser for its Gear VR headset, Samsung is now expanding the wearable device’s coverage by adding experimental support for WebVR, a work-in-progress standard for virtual reality devices to access VR content in browsers. This comes as a part of the Samsung Internet for Gear VR 1.0 update, which until now was in beta. The Gear VR would now let users view immersive content published in WebVR. Unlike the Samsung Internet for Android app, which is available from the Galaxy App store, Samsung Internet for Gear VR has to be installed or updated via the Oculus Store Android app.
As we mentioned, the WebVR platform is still in its experimental phase and is only available for nightly versions of Firefox and experimental builds of Chrome. Also, Samsung has said that the browser, for now, supports the deprecated API, which means WebVR will go out of support at some point in time. However, the company hopes to “update it soon to the latest WebVR draft.”