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Facebook's (FB) Oculus and Samsung Launch $99 Gear VR

Facebook, Inc.FB and Samsung SSNLF have together made a bold attempt to make virtual reality accessible to the masses.

The latest version of the Gear VR headset was released yesterday at the Oculus Connect 2 conference. The new headset, set to hit the shelves by this November, is priced at only $99, much lower than its previous Innovator editions, which were priced at $199.

Clearly, Oculus and Samsung have put in significant effort to make it more accessible to users by keeping the price low and making it compatible with a number of handsets including the higher-end devices from Samsung like Galaxy Note and the Galaxy S6 range.

Moreover, the two entities have taken initiatives to make this headset more aesthetically pleasing and user friendly. The device should be more appealing to users as it is 22% lighter than the earlier version and comes with a more sensitive trackpad as well as motion sensors.

Of late, Facebook has been pushing to take virtual reality to the mainstream audience. It seems that the tech giant is taking all possible measures to get more and more people hooked to the virtual reality experience prior to the launch of Oculus Rift (to roll out in early 2016).

Being relatively simple to use, Gear VR has the potential to be widely accepted as it only requires a smartphone with a decent screen to work. Moreover, Facebook has also introduced 360-degree videos for its news feed, that will give its massive user base an initial feel of virtual reality.

However, Facebook (and Oculus) still faces the challenge of finding sufficient content to support the new technology. While the 360-degree video is one initiative to encourage content creation in the field, other initiatives will also be necessary to boost adoption.

Facebook is trying to bring video publishers and game developers into the fold to encourage the creation of compatible content. In fact, video-streaming leader, Netflix NFLX has already developed an app for Gear VR that is designed to give an immersive feel to a Netflix living room complete with a virtual couch and a range of videos to watch.

While the virtual reality market is still in a nascent stage, the new Gear VR is being marketed strategically as we can see from its pricing, compatibility and design perspectives, and more importantly the tie up with Netflix, which has already created a space of its own in the content creation domain.

At present, Facebook is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock. A better-ranked stock in the same space is Google Inc. GOOGL , sporting a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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