Samsung held its MWC 2018 event today where the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus were both formally announced. The event focused quite heavily on the camera features on offer with these phones, and at both the hardware and software levels. What was largely absent from the event, however, was any detailed talk on virtual reality (VR) and it now seems one of the reasons for this was the lack of a new Gear VR headset being launched alongside the two new phones.
Instead, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are currently intended to work with last year's Gear VR headset, according to a new report out of Road to VR who credits Samsung representatives for the information. Of course, for those who already own the latest Gear VR headset and looking to upgrade their smartphone, this will likely prove to be a welcomed announcement as there will be no additional costs incurred through having to upgrade the headset as well.
It probably should not come as too much of a surprise that Samsung has opted to forgo the release of a new headset along with these phones, as generally speaking, not too much has changed with the design of the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus compared to the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. Yes, the back plate looks fairly different due to the change in camera alignment, but in terms of Gear VR compatibility, there is very little difference. As the new models are almost identical in terms of overall size to their predecessors, boasting the exact same size display, resolution, and aspect ratio. Likewise, with Samsung already adding USB Type-C support to the existing Gear VR, there will be no issues with connecting the new phones to the existing headset. Whether this will be the case when Samsung takes to the stage again towards the end of the year – to unveil the Galaxy Note 9 – remains to be seen. Though, in the meantime, those looking to pick up the Galaxy S9 or S9 Plus in the coming weeks or months, and hoping to take advantage of the benefits offered through mobile VR, will want to pick up the current Gear VR headset.