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Samsung Disputes Reports of Heat Problems in its Virtual Reality Headset

The consumer version of the Gear VR won't have the heat problems developers have previously encountered, Samsung claims.

Samsung says overheating problems in its Gear VR virtual reality headset, which game developers told Re/code about yesterday, have been largely solved before next month’s consumer release of the headset.

Samsung Dallas’ director of software development Andrew Dickerson said developers who have encountered a 20-minute “thermal limit” with games on the Gear VR were using an older version of the company’s mobile SDK that tended to push the Galaxy Note 4 to its limits.

“We turned the cores back to a more reasonable level,” Dickerson said. He acknowledged that the downgraded SDK means “developers lose some performance, but we’ve made some improvements” to ameliorate those losses.

Neither Dickerson nor a colleague could explain why Samsung staffers had been instructed to swap out the latest demo units of Gear VR at the Samsung Developer Conference every 20 minutes. And as Max Cohen, head of mobile at Oculus VR, told the MIT Technology Review yesterday, Oculus and Samsung may not be able to fully fix the heat problem on mobile.

“This isn’t a problem that’s going to go away in the near future, unfortunately,” Cohen told MIT’s Simon Parkin. “We’ll always have to manage heat; we won’t be able to fully solve it.”

Managing heat through the SDK update, which was still on the old version when Samsung showed off the Gear VR at IFA Berlin in September, was one of the reasons the headset was delayed to December from its original planned launch in October, Dickerson said. However, he claimed he had a demo unit with the new SDK running for eight hours continuously yesterday.

Amir Rubin, CEO of Sixense — which was also swapping out its demo Gear VR units multiple times an hour yesterday — said that that policy was due to an issue unrelated to heat. Instead, it was due to concerns that the company’s external head-tracking sensor would lose contact with its Bluetooth controllers during extended use because it didn’t have enough time to optimize that connectivity before the conference.

This article originally appeared on

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