The technology industry can be hard to keep up with. Anyone that’s followed the likes of Samsung, Google and more can attest to that. Take Gear VR, for example. In many countries Samsung’s smartphone-based virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) is less than a month old. While the device debuted in the US in December 2014 it only started to roll out in other territories in late January 2015. Despite this, there’s already talk of a new version of the device that could be revealed in just a few weeks’ time. But should reports of this new device turn out to be true, then early adopters need not feel betrayed.
The current version of Gear VR runs with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, an enlarged smartphone with a Quad HD display. The alleged new edition of the device will simply be compatible with a different handset, the as-of-yet unrevealed Samsung Galaxy S6. For those unfamiliar, the Galaxy S series is Samsung’s flagship line of smartphones and arguably the strongest competitor to the iPhone. The new Gear VR isn’t expected to add in any additional features such as positional tracking, which is expected to arrive in future iterations.
It might seem a little too early for a new Gear VR even by this industry’s standards, but this is actually an exciting potential move on Samsung and partner Oculus VR’s part. Now that Gear VR has been proven as a tangible product with the Galaxy Note 4 release, the companies can focus on creating a device with more potential to break into the mainstream with the Galaxy S6. It might not be that so many people purchase a Galaxy Note 4 to use the Gear VR so much as the masses that are already planning to buy a Galaxy S6 pick up a Gear VR alongside it. As a companion to an (admittedly popular) line of devices that appeal to a certain type of user, Gear VR is intriguing, but as a potential peripheral for an accessible, mainstream device it could thrive.
There will be other aspects to consider, however. How will the smaller screen on the Galaxy S6 affect the field of view (FOV) for the new Gear VR? Will the new device be able to support all of the software that can be found on the original, especially considering potential processor differences? Would there be any room to support Samsung’s many other smartphones, and how about backwards compatibility of with the Galaxy S5?
All the same, a Galaxy S6 compatible version of Gear VR is a hugely exciting prospect. Just when the company might comment on such a device is unclear, although it’s set to host its next Unpacked event on 1st March 2015, a day ahead of both Mobile World Congress (MWC) and the Game Developers Conference (GDC). Perhaps fans can expect news in a matter of weeks, then.