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Samsung launching Gear VR 'Innovator Edition' in early December for $199

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You'll be able to get your hands on Samsung's Gear VR in early December. Today the company announced that it will launch the Gear VR Innovator Edition — essentially what amounts to developer preview hardware (that's available to everyone) — next month. Obviously the Note 4 that's central to Samsung's entire virtual reality experience will be sold separately. But once you mount it inside the Gear VR Innovator Edition, Samsung says the Note 4 will automatically install a bundle of apps developed by Oculus, including a specialized home screen, a VR movie theater, and another mode that offers a 360-degree view of videos and panoramic photos. But that's just the start; Samsung has hinted that it has more ambitious plans for the Gear VR and its partnership with Oculus, which of course is pursuing its own VR interests with the Rift headset.

In a later blog post, Oculus finally announced a price for the Gear VR: $199 for the headset alone, or $249 with one of Samsung's Bluetooth gamepads. Add that to the cost of a Note 4 — $700 or more, unsubsidized — and it's not one of the cheaper VR headsets on the market. But with a suite of custom apps and a store designed by Oculus, it's probably one of the most user-friendly, even if Samsung and Oculus stress that it's not really ready for consumers.

Updated 6:30pm ET: Updated with price from Oculus.