Back in 2014, Samsung announced Project Beyond: a 360-degree camera designed to complement the company's then under-development Gear VR headset. But while the Gear VR has since become a commercial reality, Project Beyond has pretty much disappeared from view. This might be about to change, however, with a new report claiming that Samsung will be unveiling a 360-degree camera later this month alongside the Galaxy S7.
Live streaming to connected smartphones
SamMobile says the device is called the Gear 360 and is "likely" based on Project Beyond. The Gear 360 will be a "compact spherical camera capable of capturing 360-degree imagery using two 180-degree fisheye lenses," says SamMobile, and will reportedly pair with smartphones via Bluetooth. It will come with an internal battery and storage, and offer a maximum resolution of 3840 x 1920 as well as a range of shooting modes. Users will be able to to stream live footage from the Gear 360 to a connected smartphone, although whether or not the camera can stream to the Gear VR itself is unknown.
Samsung's Project Beyond 360-degree camera. (Image credit: The Verge)
All of this is rumor right now, but it does make sense. Not only is there some supporting evidence (Samsung applying for a Gear 360 trademark in South Korea; the nod toward VR in the Galaxy S7 teaser), but it would fit the company's plans for VR. The affordable price tag of the Gear VR is making virtual reality more accessible, but creating VR content is trickier. A few companies — including GoPro and Nikon — have launched or are planning to launch 360-degree cameras, and it would make sense for Samsung to join in, making a product that slots neatly into its own ecosystem. We'll find out more when the company unveils the Galaxy S7 at MWC on February 21st.