The HTC Vive virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) might be stealing headlines thanks to a partnership with Valve, but Samsung also had an exciting update to share today for its Gear VR smartphone-based HMD. The company revealed that it would be releasing a new version of its kit to support its newly-announced handsets, the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge. Outside of new compatibility, few changes are expected for the device. One important update that is being add to Gear VR for S6 however is USB compatibility.
Samsung has confirmed that the new version of the Gear VR features a USB port that can be used to power the device, allowing for extended playtime. It’s not exactly clear just how this will work. It could be that the USB port acts at a follow-through to the phone’s own mini-USB port to keep the handset charged as it is used. The previous device, which ran with the Galaxy Note 4, was able to run down the battery on the handset in a short space of time.
There are obvious benefits to this port’s inclusion, then, even if it may mean tethering the device to a power source from time to time.
A release date for the new version of Gear VR is yet to be announced, although the new smartphones will be launching on 10th April 2015 in 20 countries. These phones boast 5.1-inch displays compared to the Galaxy Note 4’s 5.7-inch one. The support for the smaller handsets means that the Gear VR itself is around 15 percent smaller, with an 11 percent increase in pixel density of the screen. An improved processor should also make the kit more capable of running VR experiences. A price for the new version is also yet to be confirmed.
It’s yet to be confirmed if the new device will be on display at next week’s Game Developers Conference. VRFocus will continue to follow the Gear VR closely, reporting back with any further updates on the device.