Samsung revealed its long-awaited Galaxy S8 smartphone last week but, while it supports the company’s Gear VR headset, there was no mention of another major player in the mobile VR market: Google Daydream.
When Daydream was announced last year Google revealed Samsung as one of a number of partners working on the platform. Many of those other companies have since revealed Daydream-ready smartphones or even their own take on a Daydream VR headset, but we still haven’t seen what Samsung is contributing to the ecosystem. We’d hoped that the S8 might support both Gear VR and Daydream, so we reached out to the company for clarification.
“We have a great, long standing partnership with Google and work with them on many fronts. Please stay tuned for further updates,” Samsung said in a statement.
That tells us practically nothing, though a report from VR Heads this week claimed that Daydream would not install on a S8 demo unit shown at Samsung’s reveal event in New York last week. It could simply be that the phones on display at the show were limited in what they could download, or it could be that S8 really won’t support Daydream when it releases on April 21st. It’s a missed opportunity if that’s the case as, from what we can tell, the S8 likely exceeds the specification requirements Google laid out for Daydream compatible phones last year.
Still, pre-existing smartphones like Motorola’s Moto Z were made Daydream compatible via an Android update, so even if the S8 doesn’t launch with support, it could come at a later date if partnerships with Gear co-creator Oculus don’t prevent it from doing so. We also never got to find out if the company’s last phone, the Note 7, would support Daydream; exploding units led the company to kill it off before any such news could be announced.
Following Daydream’s reveal last year we asked Oculus’ Nate Mitchell how the company would feel about a Samsung/Daydream smartphone. “I don’t know what exactly Samsung is going to do is the truth, and we’ll see where they land with Daydream,” he said, insisting that the company’s partnership Oculus had “never been stronger”.
With a new Gear and controller on the way, that may well be true, but where Daydream fits into it all remains a mystery.