Considering that smartphones are an established business for the likes of Samsung and other large consumer electronics firms, it's interesting to sit back and think "what's next". For a long time the answer to that has been Virtual Reality, and now that products like Samsung's Gear VR (pictured above) are hitting the market it looks like 2016 is to be the year of VR for a lot of brands. In terms of Android manufacturers, Samsung and HTC seem to be the bigger players right now, although everyone is waiting with bated breath to see HTC's Vive finally see a general release. Google has been offering up their Cardboard initiative for a long time as well, and while it's done it's job in making virtual reality affordable and approachable for a lot of people, it's time for other companies to get serious about VR.
The technology is here, as Samsung and HTC have proven. The Oculus Rift is all but set to enter the consumer market next year, and you can find a VR headset compatible with the majority of smartphones on Amazon for less than 50 bucks. Content is what's needed right now, and while there have been some interesting game releases on Android and some short movies put together with funding from Samsung, original virtual reality content is what will help things take off. Baobab Studios, a US firm that is all about VR, has secured $6 Million in a Series A funding round that counts HTC and Samsung among contributors, could be one more piece of the puzzle.
The firm already has a sneak peek of their upcoming film, Invasion!, available for Gear VR users to see on through Milk VR and it's been noted that they'll be partnering with HTC on content distribution for 2016 as well. Baobab CEO and co-founder Maureen Fan said that they want "create compelling cinematic characters and stories that bring out the innate wonder in people and inspire them to dream of new worlds they never imagined". She went on to say that "with our investors, team and partners, we have the foundation to become the preeminent animation studio for VR." It's not clear how much of this $6 Million Samsung threw in, but it's an important step for all VR companies to take, investing in content creation will help the entire platform gain ground, in turn helping them sell units and build market share.