(Hint: You should.) By 2017, you’ve probably heard a friend or acquaintance raving about a new 360 degree camera for his iPhone or Android and how awesome it is for documenting outdoor exploits, travel adventures, or even just everyday life. Chances are you’ve also come across a 360° video or two on Facebook, even if you don’t own a VR headset. If you’ve heard of 360° cameras but aren’t sure what the big deal is, this article is for you. Read on as we take a look at what makes 360° for Android and iOS so appealing.

Top Reasons Why 360 Degree is Key

1. No More Snapshots

Until recently, putting together an album of 360-degree photos or videos seemed as far-fetched as going down to the dealership and buying a flying car. Boxed-in, flat photos and videos with cropped frames have been the default for everything from home videos to professional wedding photos since the invention of the camera. But with the recent arrival of small, affordable 360-degree cameras that sync to your phone or tablet, you can fit a full 360-degree experience right inside your pocket.

2. Immersive Experience Without the Hassle

360-degree cameras have been around for a long time—Disney actually invented an early form of the tech back in the 1950s—however, the early cameras were bulky and unfit for the common consumer. Much like experimental flying cars, early 360° cameras were just too expensive and impractical for everyday use. We still don’t have flying cars, but at least now you can conveniently (and affordably) snap and view high-quality 360-degree photos and videos in all the same places you can carry your iPhone or Android device.

3. Lasting Memories

Imagine having bird’s-eye shots of the unforgettable sunrise you saw at Machu Pichu last summer, the last play of the championship game, or a fully immersive video of your closest friends tearing up the dance floor at your wedding reception. Flat photos just can’t compete with the excitement of fully reliving important memories thanks to all-encompassing 360° photos and videos. These standalone devices and add-ons may be small, but they’re packed with power: producing gorgeous images that can be easily viewed and shared via accompanying apps, and not to mention are automatically stitched.

4. More Affordable than Ever

While established companies like Nikon and Kodak have entered the market with premium offerings at equally premium price points, we’re starting to see more and more companies manufacturing affordable, standalone cameras, as well as specialized, add-on 360° cameras that pair seamlessly with your iPhone or Android. Combine automatic pairing and an attractive price point, and these smartphone-savvy cameras make the 360 degree experience a no-brainer.

We’ve designed our own Giroptic iO with all of this in mind, focusing especially on quality and user-friendliness. We also know how important it is for today’s consumers to have a seamless social experience online, which is why we built our product so that content could be shared on social networks effortlessly using your smartphone as a portal.   

Conclusion: 360° is Just Getting Started

Affordable 360° cameras that can pair with your iPhone or Android device are totally game-changing. And with VR becoming more prevalent and more accessible, this wave of innovation has only scratched the surface. With so much rapid change and creativity driving new ways to use 360° tech, it’s going to become increasingly necessary to keep up with the latest trends.

Keep an eye on this spot for new updates on 360° for Android and iPhone so you can stay in the loop.