Samsung has made some astute moves in the VR space, launching the Gear 360 camera last year and designing its flagship handsets to work with its Gear VR headset. But the newly announced Samsung 360 Round is the company's first foray into the professional end of VR content creation, and is claimed to pack enough power to livestream 4K 3D video with little to no lag.
Samsung's 360 Round calls to mind Facebook's recent efforts in this area, having also built a 3D, 360-degree video camera claimed to produce VR content on the fly. While Facebook's Surround 360 looked much like a flying saucer, Samsung's Round is decidedly slimmer and resembles an oversized Sony Discman (for those who remember what that is), measuring 20.5 mm across and 7.7 cm thick (8 x 3 in).
It packs six internal microphones, ports for two external mics and a total of 17 cameras, with eight horizontal-facing stereo lens pairs and one vertically positioned lens to capture 4K, 3D imagery and spatial audio in all directions. Samsung reckons with its accompanying software on a capable PC, this can all be stitched together in one-step and then broadcast live with "little-to-no-latency."
The unibody camera itself is dust resistant and IP65 water resistant. It also manages to run without a fan, which Samsung says will help reduce background noise during filming. There are LAN and USB Type-C ports and 40 GB of onboard storage with expansion possible via SD cards up to 256 GB and SSDs up to 2 TB.
There is no official word from Samsung on the cost yet, but we wouldn't expect the 360 Round to be priced for hobbyists. It will become available in the US sometime this month.