Virtual Reality To Be Soon Brought To Smartphones By Facebook

Last year, Facebook had shown its interest in virtual reality, when the company had acquired virtual reality headset maker, Oculus. Looks like the social networking giant, is now vying to bring virtual reality to your mobile phones. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, it claims that Facebook is developing such an app to bring it to phones.

Facebook is working on a standalone video app that would support 360-degree or “spherical” videos, like the ones that debuted on YouTube not too long ago, claims the report. The format, typically compiled from multiple cameras, allows users to change their viewing perspective in the video simply by panning and tilting their phones, as if they were at the video’s location.

As conceived, the app is also said to play nicely with the likes of Apple Inc.’s devices and those using Google Inc.’s Android operating system. This would not technically really be virtual reality, as it is not immersive enough. But, there could be a version of the Oculus Rift that will support mobile devices, somewhat similar to the Samsung Gear VR or Google Cardboard.

However, Facebook refused to comment.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has constantly called virtual reality the next “computing platform” after mobile devices. Over the last three decades, the publicity around virtual reality has been removed and decreased. But, Facebook’s $2 billion acquisition of Oculus VR last year sparked renewed interest and investment in the sector.

Mr. Zuckerberg in March had said that Facebook would support spherical video in its news feed, saying users would be able to “move around inside the video and view it from different angles.” The Oculus headset, according to Mr. Zuckerberg, should be able to power a host of new “immersive” experiences, from live concerts to virtual doctor appointments, to court side seats at a basketball game.

“Oculus firmly believes that VR will initially be popular with hard-core gamers and enthusiasts who are willing to invest in high-end desktop computers for gaming for the next two years,” said Deutsche Bank analyst Ross Sandler in a research note Friday. “Zuckerberg’s own vision is much broader than this, but it may take a few years to play out.”

A mobile-video app would offer a less immersive experience than a headset. Facebook’s presence in virtual reality could be extended beyond Oculus with the help of an app and introduce the technology to a much larger audience.

People who refused to be named discussing the confidential project said that the app is in early stages of development and there is no clarity on when the app will launch. This means that it is unlikely that it will be launched anytime soon. Until then, we advise you to take the above information with a pinch of salt.