Plenty of information has already leaked out about Samsung's upcoming "Gear VR" headset, including some pretty clear shots of how it looks on the eye side. Now a leak from SamMobile shows what appears to be the front plate, and it looks pretty silly.
The low-quality shots from the leaker show face plates in two different colours, some in a traditional Samsung blue, others in what appear to be gold, maybe unpainted. And close-ups show the Samsung name emblazoned on the front.
But probably the most notable thing is that these faceplates look horrible. They're mirrored, garish, and just generally look like a horrible 1990s-style idea of "cool". This looks like something Kid Vid would wear. And considering that Samsung is also releasing Galaxy S5s that are decked out in crystals, this shimmery mess doesn't seem too far outside of the realm of possibility.
Cool gadgets that look crap are always a bummer. But looking slick, or at least not extremely goofy, is really important for a VR headset and the future of VR in general. Any wearable gadget has to reach with a higher bar of attractiveness simply because consumers have to wear it. That's something smartwatches are still struggling with. Not to mention Google Glass.
And while no one (in their right mind) is going to wear a VR headset out in public or all the time, virtual reality is already fighting an uphill battle against looking stupid by involving bulky face-puters. We've finally gotten to the point where the tech is cool enough that it's worth wearing one, so the last thing it needs is a layer of gaudy pseudo-chrome to convince people who haven't given this new generation of virtual reality a try. "Yeah no. That looks stupid."
There's a reason Oculus VR has snapped up Carbon Design, the company that took the original Xbox's bulky "Duke" controller and turned it into the Xbox 360's dual-thumbsticked cultural icon; VR looks weird, and it needs to be normalised. Step number one is not making it look any dumber than it needs to. So hopefully Samsung's Gear VR actually has a different style—or at the very least looks a little better in person. [SamMobile via Ubergizmo]