Recently we’ve seen a number of devices that attempt to bring us basic VR technology at much cheaper prices than products like Oculus Rift, including headsets like the Durovis Dive and, more recently, the upcoming Samsung Gear VR. There’s also Google’s Cardboard, though that’s really more of a proof of concept than anything. It seems this space isn’t slowing down any either, as Carl Zeiss has now thrown its weight into the ring as well with the VR One.
The VR One follows the same idea as other devices like the Gear VR by providing a device that relies on a paired smartphone in order to provide the brains and the screen for the VR experience. Unlike Gear, however, this one is just $99 and compatible with select iOS and Android devices with a displays of 4.7 to 5.2-inches. Keep in mind that each phone will have its own special tray in order to help it fit properly into the VR One, with the first trays designed to fit the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S5 and with more trays to come based on developer and customer feedback.
The VR One is built on an open platform with an SDK that will be available to professional and amateur developers alike. The first units are expected to arrive in December though there won’t be a lot of functionality out of the box. In fact, all Carl Zeiss has done is create a photo viewer and an AR proof of concept demo, leaving the rest to would-be developers. As a way of enticing these developers, Zeiss plans to hold a contest in the not-too-distant future, though they have yet to reveal many details about this competition.
What do you think of the VR One and other attempts at cheap, Android-powered VR? A good idea or more of a gimmick than anything?