Samsung is ready to show off some new Galaxy phones again, and it’s also becoming overwhelmingly clear that the company believes virtual reality is a key to its future mobile strategy.
Samsung just sent out invitations and released a teaser video for the company’s Galaxy Unpacked 2016 event where it is expected to unveil its new Galaxy S7 devices.
The teaser definitely places a major emphasis on the Gear VR platform, which suggests that either the new S7 line will work with the existing consumer headsets or, more likely, that the team at Samsung is planning to release an updated Gear VR headset (or both).
The tagline for the video is “Get ready to rethink what a phone can do,” and with the entire marketing for this event focusing on the Gear VR, it’s not ludicrous to expect a phone update that adds significantly to the headset’s functionality. A hint that people have been dissecting from the teaser involves the instance where the subject leans forward and reaches towards the glowing cube, which many are speculating as a clue that Samsung *might* have finally cracked positional tracking, a feature that has been noticeably absent from the Gear VR’s feature set (and all mobile phone-based VR to date).
As far as the Galaxy phones themselves, most rumors out now are suggesting the S7 and S7 edge devices will likely see more internal updates rather than complete redesigns since it was just last August that the Galaxy devices received complete facelifts.
Evan Blass over at Venture Beat is suggesting that the S7 line will see the return of one of the favorite Galaxy customizations taken from users in last year’s Galaxy update, the microSD slot. Other upgrades may include water resistance and higher capacity batteries for the smartphone line.
Chipsets being rumored for the device include the company’s own Exynos 8 Octa 8890 chip or Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820. What’s interesting about the Snapdragon chip in particular, is the major emphasis Qualcomm has placed on its VR chops, specifically noting on the page that the GPU and CPU “are capable of generating photorealistic graphics for console-quality gaming and next-generation virtual reality apps.”
The Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2016 event at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Sunday, February 21 and will be available for live streaming on the company’s Samsung Mobile YouTube channel.
This will be a major event for the company’s flagship phone line, but may further be a huge event for the company’s virtual reality ambitions.