Samsung’s next Gear VR mobile headset might add something we’ve wanted for years: a handheld controller. This morning, SamMobile pointed to a couple of hints that suggest a dedicated controller of some sort might be coming, including a tweet from WinFuture editor Roland Quandt and an FCC filing spotted by Galaxy Club. Such a device could replace the built-in trackpad that’s been on the Gear VR since its first iteration in 2014.
We’ve got basically no details on what this controller might look like, except that it’s supposedly one-handed and may look very loosely like the sketch below, taken from one of the FCC filings. The testing documentation simply refers to a “Gear VR Controller.” Quandt’s tweet says it will come with a new Gear VR headset designed to fit the Samsung Galaxy S8 phone, which is supposed to be announced sometime this spring.
To be clear, this probably doesn’t mean Samsung is releasing something that looks like a ball on a stick — if it’s releasing a controller soon at all. But the general shape would fit with a pointing device like Google’s Daydream controller, which uses internal sensors for limited motion tracking. It doesn’t look much like the larger two-handed controller render that leaked last year — and which, as far as I can tell, was an old concept rather than a future product.
Several Gear VR games currently require a non-included, third-party game controller, and it would be unusual for a one-handed device to have the same number of inputs. But some of these experiences may use a controller just because the trackpad (located by your temple) is so unwieldy; it’s easy to make accidental swipes, and keeping your arm up quickly gets tiring. If Samsung improves the interface with its next headset, it’s possible some developers might meet it halfway — which would make the entire package a lot more user-friendly.