Samsung’s Project Beyond 360-degree camera made its first appearance in November of 2014 at the company’s developer conference. This was following the announcement of Gear VR, but still a month prior to the release of the original “Innovator Edition.” The camera was designed stream or record 360-degree 3D footage that could then be viewed by someone with Gear VR.
While the Gear VR saw a consumer launch in November 2015, Project Beyond has stayed behind the scenes. Those that got a chance to test Project Beyond when it was announced indicated that while the experience was impressive, it was lacking in a few areas with a relatively low-resolution capture and no audio.
The camera is reportedly a standalone device, but will pair with a smartphone over Bluetooth via a Gear 360 Connect app and seemingly requires the smartphone in order to control any of the shooting settings. The video can be streamed directly to a smartphone and, while there is no confirmation that it can stream directly to a smartphone paired with Gear VR, it would certainly stand to reason that this functionality will be included.
There’s no word on pricing for the Gear 360, but it’s probably safe to say this is going to be an lower entry point for capturing 360 video than the $15,000 GoPro Odyssey VR. Samsung is doing an excellent job capturing this mid-range VR market with performance that dramatically eclipses what is possible with Google Cardboard, but at a price point that is far more palatable than the high-end VR from Oculus, HTC and presumably Playstation.
Assuming these sources are correct, we only have a few weeks to wait until we’ll get to see how far Project Beyond has come since November of 2014 and learn if it’s a product that deliver useful VR capture to the masses.