With Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, and the HTC Vive on the horizon, it’s safe to say that 2016 is going to be the year of virtual reality. But, past the giants who will really start pushing the envelope, there’s a second tier of simpler gadgets that use smartphones to power lighter VR entertainment experiences — headsets like Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR. Speck is the latest company to make a VR headset based on the Google Cardboard platform, with a combo smartphone case/VR lens pack announced this week at CES 2016.
Speck Pocket VR is the lens part of the deal, and it looks like one of the sleekest and best-presented VR headsets to date. It’s about the same dimensions of a smartphone (specifically, the iPhone 6/6S and Galaxy S6) and packs flat. When it’s time to put it to use, the side flaps slide out to reveal the lenses. Once it’s been expanded, Pokcet VR can be securely affixed to a phone using a Speck CandyShell Grip case, which is the other half of the bundle. Using that rig, you can explore VR experiences that have been designed for the Google Cardboard platform, as Pocket VR has secured Google Cardboard certification.
While mobile-based VR doesn’t have the power of PC-based rigs like Oculus Rift, there are plenty of cool VR movies and games, along with 360-degree videos, to make mobile VR worth checking out. Speck hopes to advance that with a partnership with Jaunt, a cinematic VR company, to supply content for the new headset in addition to what’s available on Google Cardboard.
The Speck Pocket VR/CandyShelll Grip bundle will be available in spring of this year for $70.