- Ion360 unveiled a device that captures 360-degree photos and videos at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday. Two ads at the awards show demonstrated the technology’s capabilities, which include an eight-megapixel camera and two hours of 4K video recording, according to a press release by the company.
- The $349 Ion360 U snaps onto smartphones and lets users go live or directly share content on social media without needing to sync or download.
- The device features a built-in phone charger and protective case and is compatible with the iPhone 7, 7 Plus and Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8 Plus. It will be available mid-July in grey and teal.
While true virtual reality may be years away from gaining widespread adoption, 360-degree video is quickly becoming a mainstay in digital experiences. With consumers and brands embracing immersive video formats, platforms continue to increase their commitment to 360 video, with Periscope now allowing Android users to broadcast live 360 video while YouTube is expanding 360 video to TV screens and game consoles.
Devices like the new Ion360 U will help ensure that the supply of 360-degree content can keep up with the growing opportunities, suggesting more such experiences from both consumers and brands are likely to be evident in the coming months.
Though 360-degree cameras are nothing new, the Ion360 U is one of the first of its kind in the U.S. that’s compatible with a smartphone, bringing added convenience to the user experience. In March, tech company Insta360 released a similar clip-on device ideal for livestreaming videos and seamless sharing, but it only works on Android phones.
The Ion360 U doesn’t require users to download the content before uploading it to social media channels that support 360-degree footage. This seamless integration of both hardware and software removes a step from the media sharing process and makes it easy for users to instantly post, a useful element in a time where users increasingly crave the immediacy of live-streamed content.
This is the latest technology in a wave of virtual reality (VR) devices hitting the market. Google Cardboard, for example, is a VR head mount made from — you guessed it, cardboard — and links to Android and iOS smartphones as a low-cost way to experiment with and drive interest in emerging VR technologies. A February International Data Corporation report predicts businesses will spend nearly $14 million on VR and augmented reality in 2017, up 130.5%. Spending by the retail industry is expected to surge over the next few years, making it the largest segment by spend by 2020.