Virtual Reality is Coming to Your Smartphone

Samsung's VR headset

Mobile World Congress 2016 has only just started, but so much has happened already. Of course, we finally got to see the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, and the brand new modular LG G5 also made its first official appearance yesterday. (It’s fair to say the two are already competing for the title of best phone of the year.)

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However, this year it isn’t just about smartphones. Both LG and Samsung are focusing on accessories - particularly virtual reality (VR) headsets, which Samsung released back in November.

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360-degree cameras

The future of photo and video is now: MWC 2016 saw the release of 360-degree cameras from many manufacturers, designed to work in parallel with VR headsets and enhance user experience across social media channels.

Samsung’s Gear 360 connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth, while an app allows you to edit pictures or videos in real time. When you’re done recording, the app creates a 360 video or still picture which you can then share across the usual social platforms.

Samsung's Gear 360 camera

As for LG, the company announced a whole array of accessories for the G5, dubbed ‘LG Friends’, from a rolling robot designed to keep your pets company while you’re away to their VR headset - which, just like Samsung’s, will have to be used with a 360-degree camera.

HTC also got on the VR trend, and they revealed the release date for the HTC Vive would be February 29 for pre-orders. Customers can expect to receive the headset in early April.

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Surprise guest at Samsung launch

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a surprise appearance at Samsung’s launch event, revealing that the companies would be working together to develop VR as a ‘social experience’ and make it available to all smartphone users.

During the conference, he said: “We want to make Facebook the best video platform for virtual reality and Samsung is the only company in the world that can provide a good experience in terms of virtual reality.

Zuckerberg at the Samsung launch event

"Imagine being able to sit in front of a campfire and hang out with friends anytime you want. Or being able to watch a movie in a private theatre with your friends anytime you want. Imagine holding a group meeting or event anywhere in the world that you want. All these things are going to be possible. And that's why Facebook is investing so much early on in virtual reality. So we can hope to deliver these types of social experiences."

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