Facebook’s Oculus Works With Samsung on Virtual Reality

Facebook Inc.’s Oculus unit, which makes virtual-reality headsets, formed a partnership with Samsung Electronics Co. to use the technology in the smartphone maker’s newest handset.

The companies are teaming up to create Gear VR, a virtual reality headset that links with Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 smartphone, according to a statement today.

Samsung demonstrated the headset in Berlin today while it unveiled a pair of Galaxy Note smartphones. Gear VR lets users engage in a virtual world without being tied to a computer, Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung said. Users will be able to immerse in games and watch 3-D music videos and movies.

“The Samsung Gear VR goes far beyond expectations of how mobile technology can be used to consume content,” JK Shin, chief executive officer of IT & mobile communications at Samsung, said in the statement.

Oculus, which Facebook acquired this year for about $2 billion, will rely on hardware partners to help sell its headsets to consumers. By being open about who can contribute to and distribute the hardware, Oculus aims to be at the center of virtual-reality software development, Chief Executive Officer Brendan Iribe said in June.

The model is similar to Google Inc.’s Android, the mobile software that the Web-search company makes freely available to Samsung Electronics Co., HTC Corp. and other smartphone manufacturers. The strategy helped Android become the most widely used software on smartphones. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said he is buying Oculus to help usher in the next era of computing, something Iribe said Oculus can’t do alone.

Oculus this year has had several conversations with potential partners including Sony Corp., which has its own virtual-reality technology called Project Morpheus.

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