Gear VR is front and center of Samsung’s work in VR right now, with additions such as Gear 360 promising to expand that work. But the smartphone-based device might not always be the company’s headlining HMD.
Variety is reporting that Samsung is working on a new kind of mobile VR device that doesn’t run on one of the company’s smartphones like the Gear VR does. Injong Rhee, the company’s head of R&D for software and services, apparently said as much during the 2016 Samsung Developers Conference today in San Francisco, California. Rhee reportedly stated that the company is “working on wireless and dedicated VR devices, not necessarily working with our mobile phone.”
He also warned that, like Samsung’s work with hand and positional tracking for mobile VR, it may be a few years before we see any of its work. That’s hardly surprising; Gear VR’s consumer model just passed its six month anniversary and even had a major release in Minecraft: Gear VR Edition earlier today, so don’t expect support for the device to be fading any time soon.
This news does raise some interesting questions, however. Perhaps the most pressing is if this new HMD is the result of another partnership between Samsung and Oculus VR as with Gear VR, or if the Korean company is going it alone this time. Wireless HMDs with on-board processing are the distant future of VR tech, as Oculus itself has stated many times, so could the pair turn from partners into competitors if they do split?
It’s an enticing thought, but for now there’s still a lot more to come for Gear VR.