MWC 2016: Samsung And Facebook Go All-In On Virtual Reality

Samsung is pouring significant resources into Virtual Reality (VR) as it looks to spread the technology around the world – and is teaming with Facebook to do it.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg joined Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh on stage in Barcelona as the Korean manufacturer showed off the Gear 360, a new 360-degree camera that can partner with its newly-announced flagship smartphones.

VR development has accelerated in recent months and the launch event for the SamsungGalaxy S7 and S7 Edge smartphones today involved the technology in a big way, with the audience getting its first look at the devices through Gear VR headsets.A

‘Other Reality’

A second VR show was the cue for Zuckerberg to make his surprise appearance, sneaking on to stage as everyone was distracted with their headsets, causing pandemonium when he was revealed.

Zuckerberg said Facebook would be investing heavily in VR in the coming months and years, including the partnership with Samsung.

Calling VR “the most social platform”, Zuckerberg revealed he wanted “millions” of people to get their hands on  the $99 Gear VR headsets this year

Facebook support

“Pretty soon we’re going to live in a world where everyone has the power to share and experience whole scenes as if you’re just there, right there in person,” Zuckerberg said.

“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 theater 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.”

Facebook does have significant existing interest in VR having bought Oculus, which partnered with Samsung to build the Gear VR, for $2 billion, and Zuckerberg revealed that 360-degree VR video would soon be launching on the site.

“Virtual Reality is the next platform – it has the potential to change all of our lives,” he added. “We’re excited to be focused on building this next important computing platform that has the potential to be changing our lives and to be doing it with zest.”

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Mike Moore

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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