360-degree videos can be viewed in a VR headset, you can click and drag the video’s perspective with a mouse, or you can even rotate the view by swiping your touchscreen. We recently reported on Nokia and Sony teaming up for 360-degree content and also wrote up an impression on Verizon’s collaboration with Lucasfilm for the Rogue One: Recon 360 teaser, just a couple recent examples of companies putting time, money, and effort into the medium. User creation is going to be an important aspect of its growth and China Daily reports that Chinese company Protruly has taken a major step forward in that regard with their new cell phone that has 360-degree recording capability.
Called the Protruly Darling VR Smartphone, its front and rear wide-angle 13-megapixel lenses are said to capture and stitch together footage in .02 seconds for near real-time viewing. It is powered by a 2.5 GHz MediaTek Helio X20 processor, 4GB RAM, 3560 mAh battery, and has a 5.5 inch AMOLED 1080p screen. It also connects via the newer USB type-c connection. There’s no specific information on the software the 360-degree recordings or pictures will integrate with, but this could be a important moment for the penetration of this type of media into casual audiences. There are various additional accessories that give existing phones 360-degree functionality, but having it as a standard feature on a phone could be something we see grow quickly in the next couple years.
Just a couple days ago we covered the social application Pie, a program aiming to bring a community element to 360-degree media that is sorely needed. It lets you use commercial 360-degree cameras or phone attachments to share the immersive media with friends. It even has a feature called “Slice” that allows those without the right equipment to make pseudo-360 videos that move forward and backward as you rotate around. Applications like this are what could make the Darling VR Smartphone’s features even more appealing. The phone is currently available in China in a luxury, diamond and gold encrusted version for $1300 and standard version for $590.