We asked Samsung if the Note 7 is compatible with Google’s upcoming Daydream mobile VR platform. The response is essentially a “no comment.”
Here’s the actual statement:
“We have a great, long standing partnership with Google and will continue to work with them on many fronts. We will stay tuned as Google provides more information on Daydream this fall.”
Normally such a non-statement wouldn’t warrant a story, but whether or not the Note 7 works with Google’s system is an important question. The answer is likely as simple as the fact that, yes, it is compatible, but Samsung just announced a new Gear VR and it doesn’t make a lot of sense to limit sales of that headset. That’s probably what would happen if you tell people a Google VR headset is right around the corner for the same phone.
Back during Google IO in May, when the Daydream VR platform was formally unveiled, Samsung was listed on-screen as an official partner that would be creating “Google Daydream-Ready” smartphones.
The partnership between Samsung and Oculus was first revealed in 2014 with the first version of the Gear VR headset. The stakes are much higher in 2016, however, and the nature of this relationship could be changing. Carmack himself, for instance, is working hard to solve positional tracking with a mobile device. If fruitful, this work would be extremely valuable technology and might necessitate engineering a specialized phone-based device. Samsung may or may not figure into those plans. In fact, Samsung might be working on a Google Daydream headset of its own.
It’s conceivable but highly unlikely either Google or Facebook could try imposing some restriction on Samsung too. It wouldn’t be a very friendly move to consumers who just want one phone compatible with both Oculus and Google, but I’m reminded nonetheless of something Oculus CTO John Carmack said at last year’s developer conference:
“I wish we had better relations with Google. Everybody is friendly, there’s no animosity but there’s just that sense of like, sooner or later, we’re going to be at cross purposes,” Carmack said.
When asked if USB-C — a cool feature on the new Note 7 — is a requirement for the Daydream specification, a Google spokersperson said they didn’t have anything to share yet, but “stay tuned.”