Samsung’s just-announced Galaxy Note 10 is not compatible with Gear VR, the company’s virtual reality headset that works only with a phone slotted in front of the lenses, according to a tweet from tech analyst Anshel Sag. The decision to shut off support for its headset on its newest flagship phones casts doubt on the future of both the Gear VR and phone-based headsets, as standalone devices with built-in displays like the Oculus Go are on the rise.
Samsung didn’t mention Gear VR during today’s Unpacked event, and it hasn’t updated the headset since 2017. The most recent phones to support it were all four of the Galaxy S10 phone models announced in February, but only via an adapter. (The same was true of last year’s Galaxy Note 9.) The Gear VR still has a product page on Samsung’s store, but it doesn’t seem to be available for purchase anymore. You can still purchase it on Amazon for $99.99.
— Anshel Sag (@anshelsag) August 7, 2019
It’s not clear whether Samsung will provide an adapter that works with the Galaxy Note 10, or if this is effectively the end of the road for the headset. The Verge has reached out to Samsung for clarification and we’ll update this story when we hear back.
Despite its absence today, Gear VR may still have life ahead of it, as my colleague Adi Robertson has written about. The device was bundled with previous Samsung phones, is still compatible with many older models of Samsung phones, and is used as a tool to showcase VR at events like film festivals. Until standalone headsets drop in price, Gear VR remains one of the lowest-cost ways to bring VR into classrooms and events beyond the DIY efforts like Google Cardboard. It’s also still receiving app updates and new releases alongside newer models.
But with Gear VR not being compatible with Samsung’s newest flagship phone, and with Google announcing in May that the Pixel 3a wouldn’t support Android’s built-in Daydream platform, it’s hard not to think that phone-based VR may be on the decline.