New Samsung VR camera could launch alongside Galaxy S7

Samsung has a new 360-degree VR camera in the works, one that could debut alongside the Galaxy S7 on February 21.

Before you go, “Well, that’s not something I’ll ever be able to afford,” take heed that the Gear 360 is a compact, spherical 360-degree snapper comprised of two 180-degree fisheye lenses, according to SamMobile. The publication claims it confirmed the existence of the camera, and that it’s coming soon.

While it could still be an expensive piece of tech, the fact that it’s smaller puts it directly in the consumer realm. It sounds akin to Nikon’s KeyMission 360, unveiled during CES 2016, though we’re still missing a price for that camera as well.

The Gear 360 (a fitting name) can reportedly connect to a phone via Bluetooth using the Gear 360 Connect app. Just what phones are those? Well, for now at least it sounds like the Galaxy S7 will sync up with the Gear 360, though it’s possible current-gen phones like the Galaxy S6 will, too.

Users will be able to watch a live Gear 360 video feed on their connected handsets (no word yet on other devices like laptops), but whether that ability remains when a phone is latched up in a Gear VR headset is unknown at this point.

Gear 360 camera specs

The Gear 360 is likely the next evolution of Samsung’s VR camera initiative, headlined by Project Beyond, a larger, multi-camera rig designed to snap video for Gear VR.

The Gear 360 is said to have its own battery, so you won’t need to connect it to an external power source. There’s some amount of onboard storage, though just how much remains unknown.

You’ll have various setting options like HDR, exposure control, ISO, white balance, and the ability to choose whether you want to record using either the front or rear 180-degree camera or both 360-degree cameras in a dual-lens mode setting. A Gear 360 Gallery app likely does what you think it would.

The resolution of single-lens capture looks to be 1920 x 1920, while engaging both provides a max resolution of 3840 x 1920.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about the Gear 360, with a trademark application for the name popping up less than a month ago. With more firms, including Apple, looking to get into the VR space more seriously, Samsung probably feels it needs to stay one step ahead. A consumer-focused camera for VR content creation would likely appeal to enthusiasts at the very least, but if the price is low enough, casual photographers who use GoPros on their vacations could get into VR content creation thanks to the Gear 360 as well.

We will find out more on February 21.