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New mobile VR headset could eventually have HTC Vive-style movement tracking

Samsung’s Gear VR may be the pinnacle of mobile virtual reality at the moment, but if you don’t own a Samsung smartphone, then you can’t enjoy its many treasures. Optics company Zeiss has announced a follow-up to the VR One, its mobile VR headset, that now works with most smartphones, and has the potential to challenge Samsung’s excellent headset.

It’s called the VR One Plus, and although the design doesn’t seem to have changed much, it does have wider device support. A slide-in tray is made to fit any smartphone with a screen size of between 4.7-inches and 5.5-inches, and that includes both the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. The foam inserts that ensure a comfortable, secure fit can be replaced too, helping with the VR One Plus’s longevity.

Related: Zeiss teams up with ExoLens to make your iPhone take better pictures

The VR One Plus uses Google Cardboard compatible software, so there are plenty of apps available. However, Zeiss has a pair of partnerships that could push the VR One Plus ahead of the competition. The first is a partnership with Dacuda, a company that makes innovative software to add free-movement support to mobile VR.

This is a big step, and a feature most often associated with the HTC Vive, and not provided on the Gear VR at all. Dacuda’s system works with Steam games, and tracks the position of the headset in a room, so you can walk around for an even more immersive experience. From what we can see in Dacuda’s demonstration video, it still needs a wired connection to the computer, so it doesn’t quite offer the exciting wireless VR experience many of us crave. Additionally, Zeiss is working with DJI — the drone company — so its drones can be piloted using VR.

These exciting developments are being demonstrated on the VR One Plus at the E3 game and entertainment show, currently underway in Los Angeles. Sadly, there’s no indication of when either will be ready for release. The VR One Plus will go on sale in August through the Zeiss online store, and selected retailer.

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