Ask Hackaday: Is Anyone Sad Phone VR Is Dead?

It’s official: smartphone-based VR is dead. The two big players in this space were Samsung Gear VR (powered by Oculus, which is owned by Facebook) and Google Daydream. Both have called it quits, with Google omitting support from their newer phones and Oculus confirming that the Gear VR has reached the end of its road. Things aren’t entirely shut down quite yet, but when it does it will sure leave a lot of empty headsets laying around. These things exist in the millions, but did anyone really use phone-based VR? Are any of you sad to see it go?

Google Cardboard, lowering cost and barrier to entry about as low as it could go.

In case you’re unfamiliar with phone-based VR, this is how it works: the user drops their smartphone into a headset, puts it on their head, and optionally uses a wireless controller to interact with things. The smartphone takes care of tracking motion and displaying 3D content while the headset itself takes care of the optics and holds everything in front of the user’s eyeballs. On the low end was Google Cardboard and on the higher end was Daydream and Gear VR. It works, and is both cheap and portable, so what happened?

In short, phone-based VR had constraints that limited just how far it could go when it came to delivering a VR experience, and these constraints kept it from being viable in the long run. Here are some of the reasons smartphone-based VR hit the end of the road:

It was a wedge between a user and their phone. Using a phone for VR is a battery-draining process, and it also means the phone is unavailable for its normal duties while it is busy powering a VR experience. This limits user adoption, because most people really don’t like to be without their phones.

It could be cumbersome. User retention was a problem in part because phone-based VR could be a bit of a hassle. Oculus CTO John Carmack acknowledged that if using a device means popping a phone out of a phone case, docking it into a headset, then undocking it afterward and putting in back into the phone case, “you will use it twice.”

Immersion was limited because motion sensing in phone-based VR was limited to three degrees of freedom (DoF). This meant seated-only experiences in which one could swivel one’s head about to look around in VR, but the headset could not track motions like leaning in closer, or otherwise moving around in the virtual world.

Phone-based VR was unable to keep up with the kinds of features and experiences that developers were discovering worked well in VR. One example is the ability to move about in a virtual space. Purpose-built VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive allowed six DoF movement. This permitted users to move about much more naturally, delivering more compelling and interactive experiences.

Oculus Quest self-contained wireless headset. [source: Oculus.com]
In the end, phone-based VR was an important precursor for the much more advanced VR headsets that are available today, but even its niche capabilities no longer set it apart. One compelling advantage that phone-based VR offered was that it was portable, wireless, and self-contained. But even that isn’t something it does best anymore. The Oculus Quest (released earlier in 2019) is also self-contained and completely wireless, but suffers from none of the limitations inherent to phone-based systems. Phone VR just hasn’t been able to keep up.

The end of phone VR also means something else: a whole lot of empty headsets. By 2017, Google had shipped over 10 million cardboard headsets. Gear VR alone sold over 5 million worldwide. Since user retention was poor and at least some of these headsets were free bundles, it’s fair to say that a good number of them are already gathering dust. But now that support is officially ending, what’s going to happen to all of these empty phone-based VR headsets?

The good news is that the headsets are fairly simple devices, and easily tampered with. Since they include optics, putting a screen inside them is about all it takes to make a basic head-mounted display. We have seen a few projects that take advantage of this, like this remote-controlled telepresence tank which uses a smartphone as the display but eschews any phone VR SDK, and this homebrewed system using a small HDMI display in lieu of a phone. Perhaps older phones that retain VR compatibility could find a home as displays for special projects.One thing that may help is that Google just announced the open sourcing of Google Cardboard. What do you think? Will these old headsets be good for anything, or will they join empty 3D printer filament spools as semi-hoarded tech junk?

88 thoughts on “Ask Hackaday: Is Anyone Sad Phone VR Is Dead?

  1. The whole VR thing is a dead end. It was tried so many times already, and failed every time, and that will keep repeating. It’s like with 3D movies — sure, it was cool for a moment when it was new, but nobody really likes them, and a large chunk of the population simply can’t stand them. And still, after all those years, it is a solution looking for a problem.

      1. Ugh. I want AR. I want something that will let me read incoming messages, weather and traffic alerts and maybe even watch an occasional low-res video all as I go about my day. I want to still see and interact with what is around me. I also don’t want to look like a dork wearing a mini TV on my head.

        Google Glass looked about right from what I saw of it on the internet. It was way too expensive to actual try. Then with all the public backlash because “OMG, it has a camera”!!! I don’t know when, or if ever such a device will be commonplace. Too bad!

        So.. anyway, how would you get unobtrusive AR and full VR from the same unit? Blocking out reality is kind of a necessary function of VR. And surely the resolution and fidelity demanded by the gamers isn’t going to fit on something small and unobtrusive.

        1. There are already AR glasses with a reasonable form factor, have a look at Nreal glasses : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9A9u-lwjTs

          As for a AR/VR combo, you just need to block the transparency of AR glasses, but since you need a much higher field of view for VR it probably won’t appear anytime soon. Still, there have been interesting projects regarding small form factor VR : https://web.archive.org/web/20150403185143im_/http://vrwiki.wikispaces.com/file/view/rVQf0Mt.png/516614924/rVQf0Mt.png

    1. A solution looking for a problem? VR has been used heavily in different kind of industries for the past 30 years (military, medical, car/plane/train manufacturing, etc.) and it has started to conquer new markets with its recent resurgence in the consumer market (virtual house visits, field trips, VR gaming, etc.). It’s not good enough for now in terms of image fidelity, field of view or user interaction, but along with AR, it’ll most probably replace current displays (TV, monitors, projectors) in the next 10 years or so.

      3D movies are a different beast, they have had much success in the 20’s, 50’s, 80’s and 2010’s and they’re poised to make a come back sometime in the future, like any non-mature technology. But at that time it’ll probably be through VR displays.

      I bet you’re the kind of guy who wouldn’t have seen the interest of color or sound films at the times.

      1. You couldn’t be more wrong. VR will NEVER replace tvs unless a totally new type of display technology is invented. The main reason is viewing any screen up close, regardless of the fidelity, causes eye strain in the short term and degraded vision in the long term. Even ignoring that, people with eye problems often can’t tolerate VR and a huge chunk of the population has eye problems, even if they aren’t aware of it.

        I think your 3d movie comment actually disproves your own point. They have been trying to make 3d films main stream since the 20’s and it’s yet to happen. The main reason is people just don’t want to wear goofy stuff on their head that may or may not actually give them a 3d effect due to people have different eyesight problems. The exact same thing can be said for VR.

        I also take offense to any vr nerd having a fit any time someone says something negative about VR. For the record I’m not anti-vr….. for what it is it can be a fun novelty, but I also see all of it’s faults and it’s limited appeal in terms of the mass market.

        1. VR devices have lenses so you’re focusing on something several feet away. Please point out to me your source for your statement VR causes degraded vision, never heard that before.

          1. They are fixed focus, while the brain expects to change focus when the objects are near or far.

            But what’s worse, since the display is planar, the focus distance varies as you look away from the center of the field, so that also messes up with your eyes. In the end, you’re forcing your eye muscles to do something they never grew up to do, and that causes headaches and vision problems.

          2. @Luke, some of what you just said is true, but I suspect your conclusions are not supported by evidence.
            Focus distance is a part of the brain’s model for visual depth, but so are shadow, perspective, parallax, etc. all techniques we’ve been using for a long time. Stereoscopic images aren’t new, Viewmasters have been around for 80 years, and they just made simple something that was previously a little more fiddly.
            I expect we’ll find in the fullness of time that most of the headaches associated with 3D film and VR are psychosomatic. Just my opinion though, I’ve no evidence to support that.

          3. >”we’ve been using for a long time. ”

            Longer than there have been humans. It’s pretty much ingrained. People can adapt, but you’re always fighting against a system that has evolved to work in a certain way, and that’s apt to cause strain because the brain is still trying to focus at the object is a way it expects the world to behave – automatically.

            >”Viewmasters”

            When did anyone spend two hours peering through a viewmaster?

          4. There’s also the interesting question of safety.

            Industries are looking into using VR/AR equipment to basically provide a HUD for workers and technicians, so they can be trained in certain procedures or shown timely information like “you forgot this screw here!”.

            Now the problem is, since the visual environment is different when you view the world through VR goggles, once you take them off, you tend to bump into things and generally lose your balance for a moment before you re-adjust. This creates a workplace hazard where the technician working inside a wind turbine takes their VR glasses off and promptly stumbles out of the access hatch to their death.

            Anyone who knows what it feels like to get new eyeglasses, and then immediately step behind the wheel of a car to drive home, knows what I’m talking about. If you spend a working day wearing things that distort your vision, and then take them off, you’ll be disoriented for quite a while.

          5. Luke wrote:
            “When did anyone spend two hours peering through a viewmaster?”

            Certainly not me, I’d get maybe 3 clicks into a disc before a sibling would pull it away and say, “I want to see!”

            B^)

          6. @Luke, sorry for my inaccuracy, with respect to ”we’ve been using for a long time” I meant in art and technology.
            The art and technology tricking those parts of our animal perceptions associated with depth perception.

        2. As someone already said, the lenses in a VR headset make your eyes focus at a much great distance than where the display is. For the Oculus DK1 it was at infinity, for the DK2 at 1.3 meters, for the Rift it’s around 2 meters.

          Eye strain is not caused by the short focus distance, it’s caused by the vergence-accommodation conflict, as explained by Luke. But interestingly it’s much less prevalent in VR than with 3D movies, which may be related to the fact that there is no external point of reference in VR. But anyway, work is being done to correct this and at the same time provide the accommodation cue that is missing in VR. It’ll most probably come with the next wave of consumer devices in less than 5 years.

          Considering 3D movie, I partially agree that glasses have been a problem. Still, the 50’s and 2010’s 3D crazes have had quite a lot of success despite that, so the problem probably lies elsewhere. To me it’s more a problem of content than technology. Current 3D movies don’t exploit the medium as they should, they’re still 2D movies filmed with old techniques for which adding depth doesn’t necessarily add anything to the experience. When filmmakers will understand the medium and create a grammar for 3D movies things may change.

          Also, the difference with VR is that it’s a medium that is able to create presence, the feeling of being there. When 3D filmmakers will start to incorporate this aspect into movies, I think they’ll get widespread success.

          And finally, I’m not a VR nerd, just a technology enthusiast, and I take offense to posters on tech websites when they discredit new technology although they know basically nothing about the subject. I’m here to discuss tech with technical people.

    2. Opinion noted. Meanwhile, I’m literally a paycheck away from ordering my 3rd headset.
      You may not like VR, but there is a huge and growing community of us VR users that happen to love VR.

      Watching versus experiencing… 2D on a flat screen versus being part of the game directly… It really amazes me more that VR has it’s own Luddites that seem hell bent of shitting on everyone else’s pleasure.

      1. It’s a rather disappointing experience in my opinion. 2D can use all sorts of tricks to fake the look, but when you actually have to render it for two eyes, it tends to reveal how everything is just cardboard cutouts.

        First time I tried a VR headset in a store, the VR videos shot with two cameras were nice.

    3. “The whole VR thing is a dead end.”
      I’m so sorry to hear about your deficiency infun and I hope there’ll be a cure soon.
      In the mean time, if my personal experience were to be useful, find an irl friend to play Beat Saber or Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes with

    4. I’ve had some genuinely amazing experiences in VR and continue to do so (PSVR and Oculus).
      Phone VR had a lot of drawbacks, battery life, low graphical quality, no hand tracking, uncomfortable to wear.
      Other VR experiences don’t suffer these shortfalls. As the processing power increases and the resolutions of the screens increase the experiences this will only improve. I loved 3D films and am genuinely sorry to see them go I still love to watch Avatar in 3D.
      With the Quest managing to inside out track hands as well as controllers, its ability to be driven by a PC to increase graphics quality, Oculus may well find that they have the tech sweet spot nailed. Only the price is a limitation for me at the moment as £400 is a high level console and games and I only have so many hours in a day for entertainment. When it’s down tot he £300 region I’ll be snapping one up.

    5. It might never catch on as an entertainment system or design aid, but I thought that “Baxter’s Homunculus” looked like a promising use case. The idea was that you could let people intuitively control industrial robots to complete intricate tasks by rendering a virtual ‘control room’ with visualizations of the various cameras/sensors/etc. and virtual actuators for the various moving parts.

      https://arxiv.org/abs/1703.01270

      I guess if you were planning to do that in a serious manufacturing facility, why not just make a physical control room? But it’s interesting to think of ‘call centers’ full of rows of people controlling assembly-line robots, performing tasks that were difficult to automate in a remote facility. Sort of dystopic too, but I guess military drones already sort of work that way, huh?

  2. No ones is sad because no one made a great VR headset. Poor optics, poor screens, poor headset design. Everyone wanted to make something as cheap as they could/ least amount of engineering time involved. Had someone made a great one i would wear it 24/7. A good VR headset should look just like sitting in a dark theater. You should be able to move your eyes wherever and not see optic issues, or the dividing of the screen.

    1. The technology is far from being mature enough to allow this. The kind of resolution required to correctly simulate reality is around 16K per eye in a minuscule form factor, along with perfect optics, eye tracking and solutions for the vergence-accommodation conflict that don’t exist yet. It’s just a matter of time though, television took almost one century to give us image resolution matching our visual acuity with correct color rendition and we’re just starting to get correct brightness with HDR.

    2. “Poor optics, poor screens, poor headset design”

      You left out poor efficiency. Every time my son dug out his Google Cardboard and asked for my phone, I knew I’d be getting it back less than 10 minutes later, blazing hot, after it powered off with a dead battery.

      For all of Google’s supposed talent, the number of things they can’t manage to pull off is pretty surprising.

      1. You’re definitely not being ridiculous. It should be expected that these tiny computers in our pockets should have not only the processing power, but also the heat dissipation of a desktop. Why the battery doesn’t last longer when being loaded by the phone running full tilt is beyond me. Absolutely pathetic, Google.

        I can’t believe how terrible things are, we deserve so much more.

        1. Why do you think less and less people try to actually create valuable and innovative additions for products? Because people now expect the moon and the sky for relatively little (or free). So now more and more are simply going, “Okay, what’s the best way I can rip off as many suckers as possible for as little investment of my time as possible.”

  3. I’ll say it: I liked it for a specific purpose. I did a LOT of traveling last year and the combination of my Pixel 2, Daydream, and Plex/Netflix/HBO Go meant that I could watch whatever I wanted from my hotel. The rest of it was a bit (ok, a lot) of a failure.

    1. Totally this. The “private cinema” aspect was the killer use case for me – but it wasn’t until netflix added a travel mode relatively recently that it was even possible to watch a film whilst in the car, as the headset couldn’t differentiate between me moving my head and the car turning a corner.

      Content/apps beyond web browsing and netflix was very meh.

      The lack of a remote quality desktop experience was also a huge miss.

      Overall, I’m pretty gutted it has been discontinued.

  4. I like fiddling around and developing little games in UE4 for google cardboard. It’s pretty fun, but more as a creative pursuit and I don’t expect anyone to actually play them. Once they started making it more bougie and confined it to very specific phone models, I knew it was screwed. You can’t just turn it into a gimmick to market a phone for one season. But it’s pretty much always gimmickified.

    I think the thing that keeps killing it is these dumb SDKs and proprietary portals or app store-styled interfaces you HAVE to go through to use any VR headset. It should operate like any other display peripheral/HID. And of course everybody’s gonna balkanize and platform everything, try to make a quick cynical buck by entrapping some tiny share of users. It’s not gonna work until you can just plug it into an HDMI slot and use it as a general-purpose display and input device. Somebody will figure it out eventually.

    If they invented the mouse in 2019, they’d design it to only work if you ran some kind of mouse store consumer experience portal at all times it was plugged in. And you’d have to install a phone app for some reason. Software sucks so much right now.

      1. I wish there was an upvote for this. Even more annoying is the laptops have obnoxious lighting patterns that can only be changed with an account. Then there’s the defective installation of the CPU fan….

    1. Oh, your mouse comment is so dead on. I play with my daydream a ton (messing around with A-Frame). I can understand high-end games needing some sort of portal – performance and quality assurance is a big concern there. Cardboard and such was supposed to be a democratized way to access VR content.

        1. Not with that attitude!!! If we as a community create content, the rest will follow. Cardboard is going to be opensourced. And even without VR, A-Frame is my favorite 3D environment to work with. For my purposes, it’s awesome :)

      1. A-Frame looks really neat, haven’t gotten into it yet though! And I get the idea that developers want control over the end-user’s experience performance-wise to ensure it’s good enough, but I guess I don’t think it’s ultimately the right way to go. It’s soon taken over by marketing and abusive tactics and eventually the user has a bad experience anyway. I think ideally we’d have some kind of modular VR system, since all the stand-alone products are essentially a mobile processor and GPU hooked up to some sensors and an LCD crammed in a headset. Would be cool to upgrade the graphics package without buying whole new optics, screen, and headset, much in the same way that you can upgrade your monitor and graphics card on your desktop separately. Maybe someday. But I tend not to take it seriously when we’re all doing this weird console tactic—trying to ensnare people in an ecosystem that doesn’t even have much momentum yet.

    2. LOL AWESOME statement re: mice!
      Made me think of something… it’s kinda like everything-software these days is trying to be like AOL or Compuserve, you just want to browse the internet, you just need a browser, yet somehow they filled up the majority of your few pixels with shit you’d almost never use, poorly-implemented, and was already done well on… the internet you wanted to use in the first place. Now individual websites are doing the same! Reloading your email inbox shouldn’t take more than 100KB, especially with caching what the heck is it loading? It’s like some a-hole decided to reimplement [poorly, mind-you, it seems to hang with even one lost packet] the TCP/IP stack already in your OS *within* their webpage, so they could reimplement [gigantically, and completely uninformingly] the “loading” scroller already in the browser, so they could, only then begin to retrieve content already requested and *tiny* in comparison to all that overhead… and ain’t any of that java/html5/css cached?! And, even weirder, they do all that shit on mobile sites which *look* even more minimalistic/to-the-point than even in the dial-up era, so could [should] load almost instantaneously on even the weakest 4G signal. It’s like we’ve had a major regression in computing, didn’t we learn anything in the last 20yrs?

      1. Oh, totally. I kind of call it the Fisher-Price style of web design. Every icon is huge and childish, every message to the user is delivered through a honkin enormous modal or #dickbar that takes up your entire screen. Scroll and stuff will chase you around, perhaps changing height and scoot back and forth. Things will disappear when you scroll down and reappear if you ever scroll up to re-read a line. The screen will dim out and ask you to sign up for a newsletter that literally nobody but bots has ever put a real email address into. Landscape-oriented screens are totally forgotten.

        Hopefully these are the web design trends that we are embarrassed by in a couple years. I’ve been slowly working on a ublock filter list that gets rid of sticky elements, modals, persistent navbars, social buttons, notices, and other abusive overlays. I’ll release it eventually. But there’s just so many. Basically every link I click results in me spending a few seconds writing more block rules. Script-killing extensions are really amazing.

        Mobile web is definitely the single worst thing to happen to technological usability. It’s horrendous. I wish I could revive Steve Jobs and slap him across the face. But I’m merely an old man yelling at a cloud service; in the end nobody cares, we’ve somehow figured out how to make obscene amounts of money building things that suck. I’m just a crank who is mad at hauntingly bad software, or in other words I’m mad at everything now. I have high hopes for brutalist web design, but it seems to already be misused/dead.

        1. It’s a shame HaD doesn’t have a moderation system (hint to editors: the system on Slashdot is pretty good)

          The above comment (and the top one) deserve upmods. I also am an old man who laments the simultaneous bloat and loss of functionality of the modern web. We seem to have forgotten all the lessons we learned in the 1960s-80s about how humans interact with computers.

  5. I’ve to agree. I bought a Daydream some time back when it went on 50% sale, used it a couple of times, and it just sits on a shelf now. To use a 90’s term (I think, may be it’s more 00’s), there’s no “killer app” for it and headsets like it. May be once I can play something like an FPS on it and get an immersive experience. I saw a video demo of Andy McNab (of Brave Two Zero fame) playing an FPS with a VR headset which was quite cool, but that required special rigs.

  6. idk, in home streaming is a thing now. game on your own rig stream video to some device somewhere on your network. i tried it with a raspi3 and the latency was kind of shitty (probably because of the slow wifi). a production phone might be better at this (not that i would know anything about that as i do not use cell phones). if you can send your games to your phone, why not then send stereo content? then you just need google cardboard. seems like all the parts are in place to cobble something together.

    1. Unfortunately, latency is incredibly important in VR to avoid issues of nausea and such. And it would be bi-directional latency, since the headset has to send head angle and position data to the computer, then the computer has to render a frame and send the stereo video data back. Might be fast enough with 5g, I have no idea. That might be the ticket.

      1. yea i thought about that. latency needs to be improved for this kind of hacked together kit to work. eventually they want to run all games on cloud servers where you need but the thinnest of clients to play, so its bound to improve on the latency issues if they want any hope of success (i couldnt even get good performance across my living room, much less several states). probably through custom high performance codecs with hardware acceleration. a wider adoption of faster wifi standards will certainly help.

        the pi3 i think is network capped at 300megabit and the 2.4 ghz wifi is no help. maybe a pi 4 or some other sbc will work better.

      2. If you’ve been reading the academia you would have know in the 90’s that you run the game on a separate computer than you render it on. Tilt Five had the problem that Unity would crash and stop sending video to their head sets and it would take them 30-60 seconds to figure out that Unity crash because the head set handles the head tracking and reprojection. https://youtu.be/Jse-GwkcYgI?t=412

  7. I agree with VR being dead in the context of commercially viable tools that don’t overcomplicate work – I’m just not sure there has been a great value-adding application yet. Our company, inspectAR (www.inspectar.com), has built an AR tool to make PCB work and handling incredibly productive and collaborative, and is getting a lot of use at a few larger tech companies today. VR is another story, and I’m not sure there’s a ton of added value relative to the cumbersome nature of having an external headset and entering a virtual environment to work on live hardware.

    We’re considering pushing more into VR, but that just doesn’t make a lot of sense today. Our tool works on mobile and without a headset required. We are also Autodesk Residents, and there is a lot of cool VR work being done here at Autodesk related to the construction industry here that I’ve personally played with. Nothing super sticky, though. Hoping to start with AR and then see where we can take things to make a huge impact on the hardware community.

  8. I visit several thrift stores every week and there’s always 2 things I can count on being there. 1. Wii Balance Boards, 2. terrible no name phone vr headsets. These things started showing up in thrift stores long before they declared phone vr dead.

  9. Phone VR being dead is a good thing –go big or go home.

    Prior to buying 2 separate headsets over the past 3 years, I played around with Cardboard and GearVR just long enough for it to make me angry that they assumed to call these ‘VR devices’. 3DoF with no tracking at all, and they called that VR?!?

    Samsung and Google both should have been ashamed to release GearVR, Cardboard and DayDream in the first place. The last thing this highly experimental market needed was a bunch of imitators jumping on the bandwagon with the VR equivalent of snake oil.

    What’s worse is that Samsung, years later, still can’t get it right. I own a Samsung Odyssey+ and overall, it’s not a bad headset –the display is great, the tracking is so-so, and the overall comfort is dismal. My PSVR headset is *so* much more comfortable that Samsung should be ashamed for releasing something so awful on that front.

    Still though, I love VR. Even the worst implementations I’ve used have been interesting, but the best implementations have been mind-blowing. The first year or so was a bit clumsy in terms of software developers getting a good idea of what they could do with VR, but now that we’re roughly 5 years out from the launch of the Oculus Rift, there are some really great VR games that as a life-long gamer are among my favorites of all time.

  10. VR isn’t dead, it’s just in hibernation,
    you know, like AI winter (or whatever they call the historical fits and starts of AI).
    B^)

    On a side note: I think I saw a headline last week that said something to the effect that “soon” sexbots will be able to move their arms…
    If the ones they sell now have only 2 moving parts, they have a long way to go before the user experience will be “real”.

  11. I’ve been following VR since Jaron Lanier in 1985 and it never amazes me the quest for VR which is like the quest for fusion, we will have it R.S.N. – Real Soon Now. Google finally figured out their niche for their system. Props to Jeri Ellsworth and to CastAR / TiltFive for their current headset, looks interesting

  12. I used Samsung Gear VR quite alot. Hundreds of hours. It was as good as phone vr gets. Samsung phones then and now are all glass outside, even the rear nonscreen side, so they MUST live in a phone case (which the vr couldn’t handle). So constant case juggling, over heating, battery management, all as mentioned above, stopped it from being a slick experience. Too many road blocks for anyone except the most dedicated.

    And the most dedicated users ended up having alternatives now, eg Rift and Vive.

  13. VR isn’t dead – it was never alive.
    Except from commercial application we are still waiting for the rise of proper and affordable consumer VR.
    (Akin to PCs in the seventieth.)
    And no, I do not reckon Oculus Rift and the like to be proper AKA fully immersive VR solutions.

  14. if using a device means popping a phone out of a phone case, docking it into a headset, then undocking it afterward and putting in back into the phone case, “you will use it twice.”

    That’s almost what happened with mine. I couldn’t fit my phone into the headset without taking the case off, so I just put the headset aside and never touched it again.

  15. I’ll miss it :-( Or I won’t because it will still work! I use my Samsung Note 9 in a case in Google cardboard (slightly modifed for comfort) for p0rn. It works fine. I often go for an hour or so and it only uses 10-20% battery. Yes, the visual quality could be way better. There could also be a better app that doesn’t crap out every ten minutes…

    Let’s face the real reasons these products are gone:
    * Google abandons everything that isn’t search or email. Google’s Siri/Alexa… you’re next!
    * FB needs to lock you into their ecosystem. A smartphone is just as capable as the Go/Quests in terms of power/screen quality. But you probably didn’t need a FB account to sign into the SamsungVR. Or did you?

    VR will eventually catch on. The first thing that needs to be solved is the Screen Door Effect. Reality doesn’t have that… duh! The second would be either higher pixel density or making content that takes pixel denisty into account, e.g. for porn, making everything as close to the camera as possible…. duh. Solve those and that should hopefully take care of the real elephant… nausea.

    BARRRFFFFFF.

    P.S. I’ll buy your obsolete SamsungVR (Note 9 compatible, of course–doh) for $25.

  16. To hell with VR, at least in so much as Id rather (and really need) AR.

    I just wondered today if I could find something like a google glass, less obvious or obtrusive, that I could secretly read technical books on while working on other stuff.

    I have too many technical books to read and not enough time to read them-AR would really help me, but only if plausibly hidden and unobtrusive

    1. Current state of tech isn’t really available for VR/AR reading. I have a Vive and although it is excellent the available resolution means most interfaces are more like phone/tablet interfaces. Part of that is also because there isn’t any input technique with fine enough input so many things are geared to be hand sized rather than finger sized.

  17. Perhaps these VR headset could be used by cash-strapped makers who want to take part in the creation of models and environments that can later be used by AR when it’s ready.

  18. Phone processors just don’t have the power yet. It takes a lot of PC to do vr even decently. Same issue that’s always killed vr in the past…nice tech demo but not ready for the market… without the hardware most software is also basically just tech demos or poorly coded trash that’s not worth fixing from an economic standpoint. That said, I think that when 8k smartphones are old enough that everyone has an unused one sitting in a drawer, a headset that just uses the phone as a wireless screen for a computer and has it’s own sensors could be good.

  19. Oculus Quest is an android platform powered by a Snapdragon 835. It *is* phone VR. It just removes all the stuff people hate about sticking your smartphone into a piece of cardboard and adds hand and position tracking. And it’s sold almost half a million units, so it’s a pretty big stretch to say consumer VR is dead.

  20. A little bit yea, since I bought 2 GearVR and then 2 DayreamVR, but then I am still getting some Quest, I think it’s getting there. To the point of general public acceptance.

  21. Tech aint here yet. Phone screen Resolution not here yet. Phone processing power not here yet. Neither in graphics or raw power. Even a decent high end desktop rig with ridiculous expensive powerful vid card isnt capable of much but easily magnitude better than the best phone. But high spec phone is good for some useable quality VR games and basic modeling. I dont have any intent on giving up on phone VR completely and not in any way surprised of/by dropouts.
    If someone should come up with killer App for VR phone see how fast the tone changes. Also need to add that present interface using gyro/accelerometer and screen menus is poor and often poorly implemented. Daydream at least had a chuck interface but it too wasnt intuitive and couldnt change environment manipulation . im not partial to having whiplash or bumping into things whilst being effectively blindfolded. I do wonder if someone is collecting Data on the number of emergency room visits that can be directly related to Phone VR incidents.

  22. one thing that bugged me (I had gotten the samsung headset “free” for a phone upgrade) was that the phone got real hot during a short time. the goggles came with a cover that you simply couldn’t use or you’d overheat your phone. it was so common that even during the big Superbowl hype here in Santa Clara that the “NFL Experience” “VR sponsored by Samsung” couldn’t use the cover on ANY of its self supplied units!

    this was on the same devices they were recommending and packing in the headset for.

    Not a good start there. and it went downhill from there

  23. I’ll still be using one. A friend of mine gave me his old Yuneec Breeze 4k drone, and it can do FPV via phone (2d, not 3D). So I picked up a decent, adjustable tzumi dream360 from goodwill for cheap and threw an old iphone 6 I had lying around in there. I don’t need the phone for anything anymore, it’s just a spare and now it’s basically permanently in the vr headset.

  24. A friend of mine was a gadgets lover. Whatever was new and heading to be popular he bought it. This was true also fir smartphone VR. With his brand new phone and gogles he came to work with mouth full of stories how future it is and what can you do and that my smartphone is so outdated because it will not handle that so I need to change it. And then said he has already 1TB of HD porn compatible with this tech. After that day he never mentioned what future work he is using it for and sold whole gear next year in order to buy newer phone. So it looks like it didn’t do much of revolution even in adult industry.

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