Aussie-made Phenomec to take on Oculus with VR Smartview Alpha

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When we all think “full immersive glasses”, we all immediately think of the Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus. But now, a local competitor has emerged and says that it has plans to make virtual reality more affordable for the masses.

Meet the VR Smartview Alpha from Queensland-based Phenomec. However, unlike the Oculus Rift, they do not connect to your PC. Instead, you simply connect your smartphone. Why a smartphone? According to them, it is because it has everything they need to deliver a really good virtual reality experience.

“They have responsive gyroscopes.. and they allow you to have responsive head tracking. The other side is that now smartphones have incredible screen resolutions and that’s very important to deliver really rich and detailed graphics so they aren’t too pixelated,” Wilfrid Watson, CEO and Founder of Phenomec.

This may sound familiar because that is what the Gear VR – Samsung’s own VR headset made in conjunction with Oculus – is doing. However, unlike the Gear VR where it is tied to the Galaxy Note 4, the VR Smartview Alpha is designed to be compatible with all smartphones – including Apple iPhone 6, Samsung and Windows Phone.

In terms of software, there are a lot of apps on Android that will be able to take advantage of the VR Smartview Alpha. On the iOS front, the number of apps able to support this is small but is slowly growing.

Phenomec is currently at PAX Australia promoting the VR Smartview Alpha as they are soon to launch a Kickstarter campaign. When asked on pricing, they say that the premium version will cost around $150 – making it cheaper than both the Gear VR and Oculus Rift.

It will be really interesting to see how they go as it is nice to see a local startup trying to make virtual reality more affordable for everyone – not just hardcore gamers and developers. We will keep you informed when they launch their Kickstarter campaign.