Samsung has released its virtual reality Gear VR headset

Samsung Gear VR virtual reality headset available now

Samsung has released its Gear virtual reality headset for consumers, which is now available to buy for £80 from the company’s online shop.

Developed jointly with Facebook-owned virtual reality firm Oculus, the headset requires a smartphone to be slotted in place to provide the viewing screen and is compatible with Samsung's own Galaxy S6 edge+, S6 and S6 edge devices.

Once in place, apps running on the phone are used to create a virtual reality experience, giving the impression the wearer has entered a virtual world.

"We see virtual reality as the next computing platform and we are thrilled to partner with Oculus on Gear VR to set the standard for mobile VR and bring this revolutionary product to consumers," said JK Shin, Samsung's president of IT and mobile.

The development of virtual reality technology, attractive especially for the gaming industry, has been accelerating ever since Oculus launched a crowd-funding campaign to develop its prototype three years ago.

Since then, companies including Microsoft, HTC and PlayStation, in addition to Samsung, have all worked on their own technologies, some of which are expected to be launched to the market in 2016.

Google has also created Cardboard, a free, self-assembly VR viewing device that also fits a smartphone and can be used with VR apps on the firm's Google Play Store.

Available now on its own online shop, Samsung’s Gear VR will also be available from other retailers, including O2, in early 2016.

Samsung also released a web browser optimised for the virtual reality headset that provides features such as voice recognition and an onscreen keyboard for more intuitive use. The user can, for example, select menus by simply gazing at them and import bookmarks from the mobile web browser.

The browser can be downloaded from the Oculus Store starting today and will run on Samsung devices including Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+, Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note5 with Gear VR.

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