Update: Since we posted this story, an FCC listing for a new Gear VR controller has been uncovered, adding fuel to the fire.
The filing’s Test Report clearly labels the device as a ‘Gear VR Controller’ though no other information about the device is revealed. Combined with yesterday’s report, it certainly seems likely that the next iteration of the Gear VR will include a controller.
Original story: We won’t see Samsung’s next Galaxy smartphone, the unannounced S8, at Mobile World Congress next week, but it shouldn’t surprise you to hear that, when we do see it, it might well come with a new version of the Gear VR.
That is according to smartphone industry leakster, Roland Quandt, who today noted that the next model for the Gear VR, dubbed SM-R324, is on its way, and will largely be the same as the previous model, only changed slightly to fit Samsung’s new phone. You might remember that the last model was leaked early on an Indian import website, but we couldn’t find any such information to corroborate this version and Quadnt doesn’t cite any sources, so take the next with a pinch of salt for now.
Samsung Gear VR SM-R324 is coming – same as SM-R323 for S7, but gets different front cover to hold Galaxy S8 – and a single hand controller.
— Roland Quandt (@rquandt) February 20, 2017
But here’s one very interesting aspect of Quandt’s tweet; he says it will be coming with a single-hand controller.
Previously, Gear VR has utilized an on-board touchpad for control, and supported Bluetooth gamepads for titles that require more elaborate input. While this will likely be the case with any proposed new version of the device, the alleged addition of this controller is hugely interesting. Not only could it mean Gear VR gets its first dedicated external input method, but there’s room for deeper speculation here too.
Daydream, the mobile VR ecosystem from Google, uses a single-hand controller too. Samsung itself has partnered with Google to make a Daydream-compatible mobile phone, which could well be the Galaxy S8 should it fall in line with Google’s reference specs. Could it be that this controller is a Daydream remote similar to the one that ships with the Daydream View? If so that has some pretty big implications for the device but, again, that’s only speculation at this point.
With the S8 expected to skip out MWC, we’re not quite sure when Samsung is planning to show it off. One thing’s for sure; with the distaster that was the Galaxy Note 7 still fresh in the mind, the company is going to need to pull out all the stops to win back its audience.