VR and your phone
Virtual reality is the next big thing, and it may be coming to your mobile phone.
Facebook is in the early development phases of a mobile app that will show 360 degree “spherical videos.” Spherical videos are shot with multiple cameras simultaneously, and give viewers a virtual reality experience by allowing them to control the cameras and view the scene from different perspectives.
YouTube already supports spherical videos
YouTube currently supports spherical videos, which are gaining in popularity. The YouTube channel #360Video has gained over 400,000 subscribers. Viewer can move around inside the video by clicking with their mouse.
Facebook’s app will be compatible with Apple devices and with Android, and viewers will be able to move within the spherical video by tilting their device at different angles.
Facebook may be how VR goes mainstream
Facebook seems to be pushing the envelope towards bringing virtual reality technology to the everyday consumer. Last year the social networking giant shelled out $2billion to acquire Oculus VR, a virtual reality technology company set to debut its Gear VR headset later this year. Through a partnership with Samsung Electronics, Oculus plans to sell up to $1.5 million in headsets.
Facebook’s partnership, and rumors of a VR app are all evidence that virtual reality is trending, and the acquisition caused a corresponding spike in investments in the technology.
Other tech giants are getting in on the VR game too
Last year, Google released a virtual reality viewer called Cardboard, and invested heavily in the Florida virtual-reality startup Magic Leap, Inc., who hopes to make a VR headset that also project 3D images. Meanwhile Sony is working on a virtual reality headset called Project Morpheus.
While headsets are primed to hit the market, Deutsche Bank analyst Ross Sandler believes that “Zuckerberg’s own vision is much broader than this” so it “may take a few years to play out.” In the meantime, Facebook is working on supporting spherical videos in its Newsfeed.