As expected, electronics giant Samsung has today revealed a new version of its smartphone-based virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD), the Gear VR. The company made the reveal at its Unpacked press event in Barcelona, Spain, ahead of both Mobile World Congress (MWC) and the Game Developers Conference (GDC) next week. However this isn’t the next iteration of the device with new features but instead a simple variation that features support for the company’s newly-announced flagship handsets, the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge.
The original Gear VR, which released in the US in December 2014 and has been rolling out to other territories throughout 2015, supported the Galaxy Note 4, an enlarged smartphone with a 5.7-inch, Super AMOLED, Quad HD display. The Galaxy S6 and S6 edge has a smaller screen size of 5.1 inches. As such, the device itself is around 15 percent smaller while an 11% increase in pixel density allows for better images. The phone’s octacore chipset , which includess a quad 2.1GHz processor with a Quad 1.5Ghz one will also allow for higher quality experiences. Ultimately, when combined with the new Gear VR, the phone should offer a VR experience that is extremely similar to that of the original Gear VR, albeit with what could prove to be a more popular handset.
It appears that the Galaxy S6 version of Gear VR will be able to support the same content that has already launched for the first edition. That said, there’s currently no word on when the new HMD might launch or if it will retain the £169 GBP price point of the original. Samsung and Oculus VR are also said to be working on the next iteration of the device and could possible include features such as positional tracking in the next kit, whenever it may be announced.
Oculus VR will be showcasing the ‘latest prototypes’ for both the Oculus Rift and Gear VR HMD this week; it’s not yet clear if that means this new Gear VR will be on display at the show in San Francisco, California, USA. Meanwhile, HTC has revealed the HTC Vive HMD in partnership with Valve. VRFocus will continue to follow Gear VR closely, reporting back with any further updates on the kit.