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Samsung Internet Update Adds 'Experimental' WebVR 1.0 Support

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WebVR continues to build in momentum heading into the new year. Samsung recently added new layers to its VR web-browsing app for its Samsung Internet Browser for Gear VR with improved support for the WebVR API.

This update includes  support for the “experimental” JavaScript API, WebVR v1.0. This incrementally builds on the previous WebVR integration, which lets users access 360 videos from platforms like YouTube and other VR web pages from within Gear VR.

The Internet app update also takes users to new 360 worlds while making browsing a lot easier. Its most notable addition is the Change Background feature, implemented with the help of cloud rendering company, OTOY. This allows users to customize their own VR space to browse in, from hazy colorful landscapes to sleek monochrome rooms, giving them freedom to set the scene that best interests them as opposed to generic blank menus.

Interestingly, website makers can also set their own 360 backgrounds for browsing with a new Skybox feature. Imagine heading to UploadVR, say, and finding yourself surrounded by our offices as you scroll through the news.

Another upgraded feature is File Explorer. This essentially allows for a much easier way to go through your images and videos, whether on your phone or USB, with its new on-the-go feature. To help make the platform more accessible, users can utilize voice recognition, an on-screen keyboard with 11 languages, and integration of Bluetooth accessories such as keyboards, mice, and gamepads.

Samsung’s VR browsing app is perhaps one of the more advanced web browsers among VR headsets, but other companies have been catching up in the past month. Oculus recently gave us some insight into what we can expect from Carmel, its own VR web browser that was revealed at Connect 3 in October, with an early release of a developer preview, also on Gear.

Google, meanwhile, is at a very early stage with its experimental WebVR support aimed at developers, and launched the WebVR API on Chrome for Android to test it out. A stable build of the support should be releasing next month for Daydream headsets.

Samsung Internet for Gear VR is free on the Oculus Store. If you have any interest in this early stage of WebVR content, we suggest you check it out.

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