Samsung has just released a web browser optimized for Gear VR and its now available for download in the Oculus Store.
Now Gear VR owners never have to take off their headset to look something up on the web while chatting in the Oculus Social Alpha app or maybe trying to diffuse a bomb in a game like Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes.
The app is rightfully named Samsung Internet Beta and is probably what you imagine a first stab at a web browser in virtual reality looking like. Users can directly navigate recommended sites like Facebook or Google with the help of voice recognition or an on-screen keyboard for text input.
The most compelling feature of the Gear VR optimized web browser is the support of both 360-degree and 3D video streaming, as well as any HTML5 video from the web. So loading up a 360 video from YouTube can take you from watching a video in a windowpane to expanding into full 360-degrees with a couple menu click options.
We put together a walkthrough video demo of the Samsung Internet Beta app that you can watch below. It should be noted though that voice recognition was fickle throughout our initial testing and while recording the demo.
Other features that you may have noticed in our video demo is the ability for users to select their default search engine as well as toggle into Gaze Mode, where users can select menus by simply gazing at them without ever having to lift a finger. The app can also import bookmarks from the user’s mobile web browser and provides additional features like setting bookmarks and a Tab Manager.
The entire web browsing experience is very familiar and is a welcome addition to the mobile phone powered platform. We can’t wait to see what other developers come up with for navigating the web natively in virtual reality versus a web browsing experience optimized for VR.
Supported Samsung devices include: Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+, Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note5 with Gear VR.
Be sure to subscribe to VRScout on YouTube for regular Gear VR videos.