DeoVR is now compatible with GearVR! (+ how to distribute an app without Oculus approval)

Do you remember DeoVR? It is a nice VR video player that has come out in the last times and it is pretty cool. I wrote a review about it in one of my last articles.
Well, this cool player, that was only compatible with Oculus, is now compatible with GearVR too. I decided to try this integration to write a small review, so I went to their website. And there I discovered that the most innovative thing of this upgrade is not the program itself, but the way to download it 🙂

You know, Oculus ecosystem is pretty closed, and you can distribute an app for GearVR only on the Oculus Store and only after Oculus approval. But DeoVR app isn’t approved yet by the facebook company, so they shouldn’t be able to distribute it. If you’re not practical with VR development, you may say that an easy workaround exist… it suffices that you distribute the apk to developers. But with Oculus and GearVR it is not that easy: every apk has to be built including a particular file (osig signature file) specific to the phone that will run the apk, otherwise the apk won’t work.

So, every developer has 2 choices:

  1. Send the non-signed apk to Oculus, wait for their approval and see the app listed
  2. Sign the apk with the osig file of the phone/phones that will run the app and build the apk for the people that will execute it

Choice 2 is when you’re developing the app and want to debug it, choice 1 is when you’re in release stage and want to publish it online.
DeoVR has chosen… choice 3:

  1. Make a build with the osig file for each user that wants to try their app, even if they’re 1 million.

If you click on the GearVR option on their website, you’ll be taken to an instructions webpage, when it is described all the process to obtain an osig directly from Oculus… so you get this osig file, then you upload it to their website and they’ll make you a build on the fly specific for your phone! You take the resulting apk, install it on your phone… and voilà, it works!
F**KING GENIOUSES. This way they distribute their app even if they’re not yet approved by Oculus. Of course the whole process is not suitable for your grandmother (not that user friendly), but considering that VR is a matter of innovators now, it is a quite simple process for a nerd. Kudos to them for this idea!

oculusvr osig command line deovr
This is the process for obtaining the device ID (highlighted in red) that has to be provided to obtain the osig file and to install the apk if you want to use a command line, the nerd way. Otherwise, if you’re not that nerd, use instructions from DeoVR website

After the installation I tried DeoVR on my GearVR innovator edition. The feedback is that the it is the quite the same awesome product of my last review: the key difference is that it can be controlled with GearVR D-Pad. The main problem is that integration with Youtube, that I loved so much in the PC version, has not been made yet… and I’m so sad about it. I’ve noticed some bugs:

  • FPS with Note4 is not perfect (as with Magnetique)
  • help section continues showing Xbox controller commands, even if GearVR does not use it
  • the UI doesn’t stay fixed in space, but repositions itself in the position you’re looking at when the video ends
  • there’s no shortcut to access videos on your phone, you have to navigate inside the directory tree of your phone and find them

These are typical small problem of a beta release and don’t ruin the overall experience, that remains great 🙂

And you, have you tried DeoVR and their build process? No?? What are you waiting for? 😉

Skarredghost

AR/VR developer, startupper, zombie killer. Sometimes I pretend I can blog, but actually I've no idea what I'm doing. I tried to change the world with my startup Immotionar, offering super-awesome full body virtual reality, but now the dream is over. But I've still not waken up...

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