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Between reports of flagging sales and seemingly little promotional activity from Samsung, there’s been no shortage of speculation that the company’s Gear VR headset accessory doesn’t have much longer to live. Now Samsung is confirming speculation that the just-announced Galaxy Note10 series is incompatible with Gear VR, another nail in the once noteworthy virtual reality platform’s coffin.
Gear VR is a plastic and fabric housing that turns certain Samsung smartphones into VR headsets, complete with 3DoF head and controller tracking. Co-developed with Oculus, the accessory offered an early onramp into the world of VR without requiring computer tethering or a fully standalone headset design, apparently shipping in large volumes due to promotional giveaways and bundles.
Conceptually, it’s not entirely surprising that the new Notes wouldn’t work with the headset, as Samsung has continued to increase its devices’ screen sizes, and was previously forced to ship Gear VR adapters for recent phones such as the Galaxy Note9 and S10. But The Verge confirmed with the company that retrofitting the accessory with Note10 adapters isn’t in the cards.
Samsung is apparently focusing on other alternatives. “We remain committed to innovating in VR and AR to deliver incredible new experiences to our consumers,” the copmany told The Verge, which suggests that it is planning updates to its computer-tethered Odyssey series of headsets, or other devices yet to be announced. For the time being, Samsung has depended on partners such as Facebook and Microsoft to set its VR software agenda, but has been working on its own AR hardware and software, including an AR cloud service.
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