The Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) Oculus software that powers the headset of Samsung’s Gear VR has been revamped. Consequently, the home screen of Gear VR now enjoys faster load times. Avatars have also been introduced allowing users the ability to have a consistent persona in all apps. The new Oculus home screen also boasts of a web browser that can be used in virtual reality as well as an avatar system. It will thus be possible to search online right from the home screen.
“The browser brings 2D and most 360 video content right into Oculus Home,” read a statement from Oculus.
In the Gear VR partnership between the Facebook-owned Oculus and Samsung, it is the responsibility of Oculus to provide the software while it is upon Samsung to build the hardware. The Gear VR headset requires a smartphone running on the Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Android operating system to operate.
Though the new home screen resembles the old version, the display resolution has now been doubled. It also consumers less power with the reduction level being estimated to be around 30%.
Another change that has come with the software update is the ability to play videos right from the home screen. Thus, it is no longer necessary to launch first in order to play a video inside the app. Watching videos on a Gear VR is, however, not as immersive or breathtaking as is the case when watching the same from a VR headset that is powered by a personal computer due to the limitations of a smartphone.
To a certain extent the new features are made possible by the fact that Samsung also launched a new controller for the Gear VR headset. The controller which has some motion-tracking functionalities allows users to make use of their hands to point at the on-screen options rather than having to tap a button on the sides of their temples in the course of moving their heads. This new method makes typing on a virtual keyboard easier. The trackpad on the controller is also enhanced as it is now easier to scroll through the web pages or app lists.