The New Samsung Galaxy S7 Family and Virtual Reality Technology

24th February 2016

Our blog this week is from Vodafone and features the new Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge; the imminent launch of both was announced this weekend. Both handsets pack powerful Octa Core processors, Dual Pixel 12 MP cameras, stunning 5.1 and 5.5-inch amoled displays and huge 3,000 and 3,600 mAh batteries, respectively.

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Virtual Reality Technology

With both devices slotting neatly into the ‘Gear VR’ headset (which is available at no extra cost on Vodafone Red and Red Value pre-orders), it’s clear that virtual reality technology is going to be a huge focus for 2016 and beyond.

Vodafone chatted with Samsung’s Jason Lovell to find out how virtual reality technology will work and its benefits:

Jason says. “You get a compatible device like the Galaxy S6 or S7, slide the phone into the Gear VR headset, and it’ll automatically guide you through the install process. Within five minutes you’ll have the Oculus Store on your phone, which acts as your portal to all the VR apps. Then you simply download one, click ‘run’ and the phone will ask you to insert the phone into Gear VR. Then you’re away.”

“The screen of the phone acts as the main hub,” he adds.

“The phone itself will display the picture, but the Gear VR adds sensors which allow for head movement tracking, as well as the lenses which make the image stereoscopic to match how you see the real world. So whilst the phone brings the brains, the headset itself plays a big part. It’s all about being comfortable and light, whilst packing in the necessary technology.”

Anyone who’s paid attention to tech news over the last few years will have recognised an important word in that last paragraph: Oculus. Oculus famously rounded up millions in funding on Kickstarter in 2012 for its own virtual reality headset, ‘Rift’, set to launch this year.

But in-between honing its own product, Oculus has worked alongside Samsung for the Gear VR, lending its indispensable know how to the cause:

“It’s been a really close collaboration,” says Jason. “There’s a lot of work being done at Samsung’s global HQ and together we’re striving to really bring VR to the masses. It’s all about combining our great technologies and producing amazing experiences that everyone will want to use.”

A Whole New World

Now for the fun stuff: what can you actually do with virtual reality in 2016?

“So you’ve got four basic categories,” Jason explains. “Games, experiences, apps and videos. Then within each of those there’s loads of great stuff, both free and paid. What I particularly love is the gaming side of things, which is a field that will grow and grow this year. There’s a game called Land’s End, for instance, which is phenomenal. It’s built by the guys who made mobile smash hit Monument Valley and it’s a fantastic experience. You jump into this amazingly stylised world, move around and solve puzzles. It’s a great illustration of what VR can do.”

He adds: “There are immersive stories available from news outlets like the New York Times too, each of which takes you through a 10 or 15-minute short story by placing you in someone else’s shoes. And that’s so much more powerful than just looking at it on a screen. One example is called The Body VR, which takes you along the blood stream, into the organs, and educates you about the human body in an innovative way. Another one, called House of Languages, is a new method of teaching children foreign languages. There’s even one called Speech Center, which puts you in front of an auditorium full of people, and gives you tips on how to present yourself better. It’s really, really clever.”

There’s also a new internet browser where you can go to YouTube or surf the web in an immersive environment. The demos for this are undoubtedly cool, but these kinds of experiences seem to be just the tip of the iceberg. Developers, film and game makers who are used to telling stories on traditional media are starting to work out that these stories can now be told in a much more immersive way.

The Future of Virtual Reality

The Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are available to pre-order now from Vodafone now and your pre-order will land you a Gear VR (worth £79.99) at no extra cost when brought with a Red or Red Value Bundle. But what does the future hold in store for this amazing new tech?

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The sky’s the limit, in my opinion” Jason tells Vodafone. “Once people start learning more about VR, learning what it can do, and experience more and more innovative and unique content, I think you’ll see it really fly. It’s just about increasing awareness and desire to experience it again and again.”

He adds: “I think that every big device you’ll see this year will have a part to play in VR’s evolution. But what separates Gear VR is that it’s such an easy thing for customers to experience. There are approximately 1.7 million people in the UK with a compatible handset already.”

To find out more about the Samsung S7 and S7 Edge, along with the Gear VR and virtual reality technology, pop to Vodafone in Salford Shopping Centre.