Samsung Gear VR reaches major milestone as it preps for Facebook 360 photos

Samsung Gear VR

Samsung Gear VR, which usually plays second fiddle to the Oculus Rift, just received a number dump that gives it mega bragging rights.

The Gear VR saw over 1 million users in April, according to stats released by Oculus. The headset is almost in its sixth month of worldwide availability.

"1 Million people used Gear VR last month. Big news for VR acceptance and adoption, great for existing and future VR developers!" gushed Oculus founder Palmer Luckey on Twitter. The Gear VR was built in partnership with the Rift maker.

Now, there's no distinction made if these were individual headsets bought or accounts set up or whether every single person who tried on the headset was counted, but Luckey is right. It's a good sign for mobile VR's future if hordes are exposed to Samsung's viewer.

Gear VR is much cheaper and more widely available via Samsung Galaxy S7 purchases than the Rift and HTC Vive (and better quality than Google Cardboard), so getting exposure can only help its cause - as can more content.

Content's coming

It was revealed today that Facebook is preparing to launch 360 photos in the News Feed in the coming weeks, letting users explore panoramas or snaps taken by a 360 camera in full on their phone.

To get that like-you're-there look on your Gear VR, just tap on the "View in VR" button when looking at a 360 News Feed photo.

Samsung Gear VR Nomads

The headset is also gearing up for more content to join the over 250 apps it already has, including a 360, 3D, three-party reality series called Nomads, produced and directed by Felix & Paul Studios, that documents the lives of nomadic peoples in Mongolia, Kenya and Borneo.

Discovery VR is preparing to launch Deadliest Catch VR next week, literally putting viewers on deck as crew members in the wild Alaskan waters.

Other improvements headed to Gear VR include an updated Oculus Home, set to arrive in June with easier discoverability. Also on the way are a What's New section and updated library in the Oculus mobile app, again to help users find new content to consume and encourage more to use - or buy - a Gear VR.

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.