LG's new virtual reality headset – for free

South Korean electronics majors Samsung and LG rival each other in almost every segment of the market – be it smartphones, televisions, kitchen appliances or other goods.

The free ‘VR for G3’ headset is a giveaway for customers who purchase new LG G3 smartphones. (Supplied)

Now we can add virtual reality headsets to that growing list. While Samsung’s VR headset, called Samsung Gear, has been in the market for a while and works with the Galaxy Note 4, its compatriot LG, unveiled its own VR set – and it will be free for those who purchase the LG G3 in the near future.

The free ‘VR for G3’ headset is a “giveaway for customers who purchase new LG G3 smartphones,” the firm said in a media statement.

LG’s rather unimaginatively titled ‘VR for G3’ works with Google Cardboard and enables G3 owners to experience a variety of VR-compatible apps and games that they can download on the Google Play store.

The VR for G3 device has been custom-built for (no surprises here) the LG G3, and makes use of the smartphone’s design to keep its own size and weight in check. “Unlike other head-mounted VR devices that are designed with their own processors and displays, VR for G3 takes advantage of the visual and sound capabilities of G3 to offer a lighter and more convenient solution,” says LG.

The design of VR for G3 is based on the blueprint for Google Cardboard, available online for home DIY fans, it notes.

The LG VR headset leverages the G3’s signature back facing volume buttons to amp up the volume, taking advantage of the phone’s 1W speaker with Boost AMP. In addition, the neodymium ring magnet on the side of the VR for G3 works with the magnetic gyroscope sensor in the G3 to select applications and scroll through menus without touching the display.

What’s more, LG claims that VR for G3 requires no assembly other than inserting the phone in the viewer.

“While still in its infancy, this is just the beginning of the virtual reality movement which until recently was expensive and inaccessible to everyday consumers,” said Chris Yie, vice president and head of marketing communications at the LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company.

“By leveraging Google Cardboard, not only are regular consumers able to participate in the VR experience, we’ll be able to introduce this technology to future developers who may one day show us how VR can be used to improve our lives,” he said.

“With Google Cardboard, we wanted to create more immersive and delightful experiences for anyone on their mobile devices,” said Andrew Nartker, Product Manager for Google Cardboard. “We are excited about VR for G3, and the rich ecosystem of developers and manufacturers who are innovating with Google Cardboard and making VR more easily accessible.”

The VR for G3 promotion will roll out this month in select markets. When will it arrive in the UAE? Watch this space.


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