The Galaxy Note 10 is a fine smartphone and example of innovation in the smartphone market. It is, however, also arguably one of Samsung most highly-debated models in recent memory. Perhaps in an effort to further distance it from the Galaxy S line, Samsung has changed quite a lot in the Galaxy Note 10. That, unfortunately, has forced it to drop things like the headphone jack and, something Samsung left out from the press, support for its own Gear VR platform.
Samsung Gear VR was perhaps the first, and now only, mobile VR platform developed by a manufacturer that followed in Google Cardboard’s footsteps. In short, it used the power of a smartphone to drive virtual reality experiences and, on paper, promised the joys of VR without the pain of being tethered to an expensive PC rig. It also set itself apart from the likes of Cardboard by working with Oculus rather than using Android’s then still immature VR framework.
Cardboard and even Daydream have come and gone and so did the dream of smartphone-powered VR. Gear VR seemed to be the hold out but now it seems that its time has come as well. The platform still exists and runs on existing hardware but it seems that it is stopping with the Galaxy S10 line.
Samsung hasn’t yet officially confirmed it but Moor Insights & Strategy analyst Anshel Sag says he did get that final word. The Galaxy Note 10 won’t be compatible with any version of the Gear VR headset. And without any headset, it will be impossible to start the Gear VR platform, at least not without some hacking and rooting.
Sag himself adds that it’s not a huge loss and, admittedly, few will probably even notice Gear VR’s demise. In terms of mobile VR, the market is swaying towards standalone headsets like the Oculus Quest. Samsung does, or did, have a standalone Windows Mixed Reality of its own so that might not be out of the question. Whether it sees any point in doing so, however, is an entirely different question.