Samsung made the surprising announcement earlier this month that its new Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10 Plus will not work with its Gear VR headset. But the company never said why. Now, we might have an explanation.
In conversations with a source familiar with the matter, Samsung-tracking site SamMobile said that the company was forced to remove Gear VR compatibility in the Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10 Plus after Samsung and Oculus disbanded their Gear VR partnership.
In order to bring Gear VR to consumers years ago, Samsung inked a deal with Facebook-owned Oculus. In that partnership, Samsung provided the hardware design and manufacturing and Oculus delivered the software. Now that the software component isn't in place because the companies are no longer working together, Galaxy Note 10s won't work with Gear VR.
That said, SamMobile said that existing Samsung devices, like the Galaxy S10 Samsung released earlier this year, will continue to work with the Gear VR. So, it would appear that the Galaxy Note 10 will be the first device of many to not work with Gear VR.
As Oculus pushes into more dedicated VR headsets, such as the Oculus Quest and Oculus Go, it may see less of a need to partner with Samsung on phone-powered headsets.
The news comes as Oculus co-founder Nate Mitchell announced plans to leave the company this week. Mitchell had been with Oculus for seven years and has been working for Facebook leading the Oculus team since Facebook's acquisition.
Fellow co-founders Palmer Luckey and Jack McCauley previously left the company.
Looking ahead, it's unclear what the fate might be for Samsung's virtual reality ambitions. Gear VR wasn't wildly popular, but it was an attempt by the Korean tech giant to capitalize on a trend. Its chief competitor, Apple, is working on augmented reality, and that could ultimately be Samsung's focus in the coming years.
The SamMobile source didn't say whether Samsung and Oculus could revive their partnership at some point in the future.