Samsung today announced their next generation of Galaxy S smartphones, the S7 and S7 Edge. The company says Gear VR will be included for free with pre-orders.

On stage at Samsung’s Unpacked event in Barcelona today, the company revealed the anticipated S7 and S7 Edge smartphones, each of which will be compatible with the latest version of Gear VR which was released late last year.

samsung gear 360 vr camera
See Also: Samsung Announces Gear 360 Camera with Facebook Partnership for Sharing

Aside from the usual improvements in performance, battery life, camera, etc. both phones now include a MicroSD card slot which will be a boon for those downloading loads of VR apps and 360 videos. With no mention of resolution during the announcement, we’re left to believe that the phone’s retain the same 2560×1440 displays as their predecessors.

Both devices include the recently released Vulkan graphics API. Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney joined Samsung’s stage to say that Vulkan increases rendering speed by four times compared to OpenGL, and he showed off an impressive real-time graphics demo running on Epic’s Unreal Engine 4.

Pre-orders for the S7 and S7 Edge start on February 23rd and through March 18, pre-orderees will get a free Gear VR headset and a bundle including six VR games. Samsung limits the number of units given away to some undefined “while supplies last” clause, but hopefully it’s more than a few thousand.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Foreign Devil

    So there is still no headtracking with this new phone? I saw “headtracking” written on the presentation so I’m confused.

    • Shawn

      Well, it has rotational tracking; I’m pretty sure it’s the same Gear VR version as used with the Galaxy S6, S6 edge, S6 edge+ and Note 5.

      There’s no positional tracking for Gear VR at this time, if that’s what you’re wondering; maybe for a renewed Gear VR version with the Galaxy Note 6.

      • cdm283813

        Unless it’s built into the Note 6 I doubt it. I bet the Note 6 will use the same Gear VR. I don’t see major changes until 2017.

        • Shawn

          I’d have to imagine the Note 6 would utilize a larger-than-normal (5.8″-5.9″) for a 4K display, therefore not fit in the Gear VR 2015 Edition, though it may still be able to fit with significantly reduced bezels.

          Also, generally big advancements come with the Note (or used to), rather than the S line; Note 6 will most likely feature a more powerful processor / graphics chip than the S7 (so long as we don’t have a repeat of last year’s “S6+ with S-pen Note 5”), which is why I believe positional tracking may be achievable with the Note 6 depending on how the jump is.

          Mobile VR is playing catch-up with tethered VR, but it’s progressing rapidly enough alongside more powerful phonesets, imo.

          • RockstarRepublic

            Note is going to have 6 gb of RAM, thats all we know at this point. I wouldnt hold out for too long though, their “edge” seems to be their main note alternative (size wise).