Virtual reality is the ‘next big thing’ and it looks like everyone wants to get a slice of the VR pie including popular German optics makers Carl Zeiss with the announcement of their VR One virtual reality headset.
“VR ONE represents a generation of affordable VR glasses for multiple devices which excel through leading edge optical design and ZEISS precision lenses for an ultimate immersive visual experience,” said the company in a post on the official VR One blog.
The VR One is similar to Samsung’s Gear VR wherein it utilizes a smartphone as the headset’s screen b ut with the VR One Zeiss wants to provide a cheaper and more versatile alternative – The VR One only costs $99.90 (the Samsung Gear VR is reported to be priced around $199) and its smartphone compatibility isn’t limited to Samsung’s line of devices.
According to Zeiss, the VR One can utilize any smartphone with screens between 4.7 and 5.2 inches. The VR One utilizes what the company calls “drawers” designed for specific smartphones that slide into the headset.
At launch, only two drawers will be available – for the iPhone 6 (4.7-inch) and the Samsung Galaxy S5 – but the company plans to release more drawers based on user votes and suggestions. Drawers may be purchased separately for $9.90.
Zeiss has also made the VR One compatible with more people by creating a larger eyebox that would fit more people with different interpupillary distances. The VR One can also be worn with eyeglasses which makes it more accessible than other upcoming VR headsets.
At launch, two apps will be available for the VR One – the media app which allows you to view media stored on your phone as well as stream videos in 2D or 3D from YouTube and the VR One AR app that uses an included AR cube for an augmented reality experience. The company says they hope the AR app will encourage developers to make more apps for the VR One using the available open source Unity3D SDK package for iOS and Android.
The Zeiss VR One is now available for pre-order for $99.90 with its first batch of units scheduled to start shipping before Christmas 2014. The first batch of Zeiss VR One orders will come with either a slide for the Samsung Galaxy S5 or iPhone 6 (4.7-inch) depending on your choice as well as the aforementioned AR Cube for the VR One AR app.