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article imageSamsung might be building a new VR headset for the Galaxy Note 7

By James Walker     Jul 6, 2016 in Technology
As excitement builds for Samsung's upcoming Galaxy Note 7 phablet, rumours suggest the company is working on an updated Gear VR headset to accompany the new phone. The revised model will use a USB-C port and may have some new features.
The existence of the headset was revealed by Indian import database Zauba. An entry in the database shows a Gear VR headset with the model number SM-R323 was shipped from South Korea into Samsung's Indian R&D facilities on July 4, apparently for testing and evaluation.
Alongside the "testing and evaluation" purpose, the model number strongly suggests this is a new product. The current Gear VR has the model number SM-R322, following the SM-R320 and SM-R321 developer and innovator editions respectively. All the signs indicate Samsung is putting the finishing touches on an updated Gear VR headset.
The change in model number to a new major iteration suggests the headset may include generational improvements over the current model. With hard evidence lacking, it's only possible to speculate on what the updated headset will include. Samsung could improve the lenses and the design of the device, improving comfort and performance, or settle for more minor changes.
It's possible to make an educated guess on one of the new features. The refreshed Gear VR is expected to connect to smartphones using a USB Type-C port, replacing the Micro USB connector on the current model. While this will prevent it working with many current devices, it will enable the Gear VR to be compatible with Samsung's upcoming Galaxy Note 7. Expected to launch in the next few months, the Note 7's widely-leaked specifications include a USB-C port.
If the rumours prove to be correct, the new headset could launch in less than a month. The Galaxy Note 7's unveiling date is thought to be August 2. It would make sense to launch an upgraded and Note 7-compatible Gear VR on the same date.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 leaked press render by Evan Blass
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 leaked press render by Evan Blass
Evan Blass [@evleaks]
When it launched the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge earlier this year, Samsung gave Gear VR headsets away for free to people who pre-ordered the phone. It is possible the company may run the promotion again next month for purchasers of the Note 7.
Gear VR is an easy route into virtual reality for owners of Samsung smartphones. It supports several apps and games and doesn't require any specialist hardware beyond a compatible first-party device. It has been popular with reviewers and has received several major updates since its launch.
Recently, leaked images revealed the Galaxy Note 7 in its entirety, showing a 5.7-inch phablet capable of delivering immersive virtual reality experiences. With a powerful processor and 4GB of RAM powering the handset, the Note 7 would be capable of running the most demanding VR apps.
That can only be done once a supporting headset is available though. With the Gear VR ready for a replacement, Samsung seems likely to have more than just a phablet to launch in August.
More about Samsung, samsung gear vr, gear vr, galaxy note 7, Samsung Galaxy Note
 
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