Samsung officially launched its new S9 and S9 Plus smartphones today. Though Gear VR wasn’t mentioned during the reveal, the company has confirmed to Road to VR that both the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus will support the 2017 Gear VR, however a new model for the launch of the phones was not announced.
Samsung launched its first Gear VR headset way back in 2014, compatible with the Note 4. Since then, the company has continuously refreshed the headset to fit newer phones, now with six different Gear VR models.
Today in Barcelona, ahead of MWC 2018, the company revealed their new Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus phones. During the announcing, the company focused heavily on the smartphone’s camera, pointing out a new super slow-mo feature, dual aperture, and some light augmented reality such as being able to translate printed words through the camera in real-time. The phones are due to be available on March 16th.
Virtual reality went nearly unmentioned during the reveal, but following the keynote, Samsung representatives confirmed to Road to VR that the new phones would support the latest 2017 Gear VR headset. However, a 2018 model won’t be launched alongside the S9 and S9 Plus.
That’s not surprising, considering the new phones are very similar in size to last year’s S8 phones, and the 2017 Gear VR already includes a USB-C adapter, meaning it can plug into the S9 phones with no problem.
If Samsung plans to release an updated version of Gear VR for 2018, we’d expect it to come later in the year, likely during the reveal of the Note 9.
Samsung has also previously hinted at work on its own standalone headset, which would come with everything built in rather than rely on a docked smartphone. As with other company’s now launched standalone VR headsets, Samsung may be shifting its focus in that direction.