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Samsung upgrades Gear 360 camera with 4K video and iPhone support

Alongside the launch of the Galaxy S8, Samsung has unveiled an update to its Gear 360 camera, with the new version of the 360-degree camera now offering support for iPhones for the first time, as well as the ability to live stream and capture true 4K-resolution video.




The new Gear 360 updates the external design of the original with a smaller and lighter body, but still follows the same concept of using two CMOS 8.4-megapixel fish-eye cameras positioned back-to-back to record a 360-degree video.

The previous generation's sub-4K resolution of 3840x1920 has increased in the new model, which can record video at up to 4096x2048 at 24 frames per second, and take 15-megapixel still images. Last year's release was able to produce 30-megapixel images, due to its use of two 15-megapixel sensors.

While last year's model only worked with a small number of Samsung's mobile devices, the South Korean electronics producer has made the decision to expand its compatibility, allowing it to work with the iPhone 6S and later iPhones running iOS 10.0 or later. The decision to support smartphones produced by its main competition is probably a move to increase the potential audience for the imaging device, instead of limiting its use to only flagship Samsung devices, like the Galaxy S8, which could help increase the camera's sales.

When connected to a smartphone it can be used to broadcast live 360-degree streams on YouTube and Facebook, using a companion mobile app. Video can also be uploaded to Samsung VR, the company's platform for hosting content viewable by users of its Gear VR headset.



In an attempt to help prevent users from using all their smartphone storage for the high-resolution video, the camera has space to install a microSD card of up to 256GB in capacity. The battery has been downgraded from 1,350mAh in the original to 1,160mAh, but Samsung claims it will last for up to 130 minutes of recording at 2560x1280.

Connectivity options for the Gear 360 include Bluetooth 4.1, dual-band Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, and USB 2.0 Type-C, with the camera rated at IP53 for dust and splash-proofing.

Samsung advises the new Gear 360 camera will ship sometime in the spring. Pricing has not been announced, but it is probably going to have a similar cost to last year's model at $350.