We’re still waiting for a consumer version of the Oculus Rift, the device that reignited everyone’s interest in virtual reality. The first prototype surfaced more than two years ago and in the interim, we’ve seen a handful of other companies beat Facebook-owned Oculus VR to the punch.
The latest virtual reality headset comes from Carl Zeiss, a company that knows a thing or two about optics. Their solution, the Carl Zeiss VR One, is similar to Samsung’s Gear VR headset in that it works in conjunction with a smartphone but unlike Sammy’s solution, it isn’t limited to a particular brand of phone.
Instead, the VR One will work with Android and iOS phones featuring a minimum screen size of 4.7-inches up to 5.2-inches (Galaxy Note 4, iPhone 6 Plus and all Windows Phone devices need not apply). Your phone fits into a custom tray called a drawer which then slides into the front of the headset. At present, the VR One only supports the Galaxy S5 and the iPhone 6 although I suspect they’ll offer more options in due time.
The Carl Zeiss VR One is available for pre-order as of writing priced at just $99.90 while additional drawers sell for $9.90 each. At this price, the device is twice as cheap as the Gear VR which only works with the Galaxy Note 4, a handset that’ll set you back an additional $800+.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that, as Wired points out, the Zeiss team doesn’t really have any idea what to do with it. They’ve created two demo apps but aside from that, it looks like they’ll be relying on developers to build apps for the device.
It’ll no doubt be a tough sell without a ton of support but at least they seem to have the price and compatibility issues figured out.
The first units are expected to ship in time for the holidays.