Samsung's Galaxy S7 launch event at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona had a surprise guest. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's appearance caused quite a frenzy among attendees.
Zuckerberg, however, was not there to promote Samsung's new flagship phone but to speak about virtual reality (VR), which he dubbed one of the most social platforms of the future. Samsung and Facebook have partnered to offer affordable VR wearables and experiences.
The Facebook CEO was already in attendance at the MWC to deliver a keynote address. At Samsung's Unpacked event, he extolled the impending proliferation of VR.
"Pretty soon we're going to live in a world where everyone has the power to share and experience whole scenes as if you're just there, right there in person," Zuckerberg said. "Imagine being able to sit in front of a campfire and hang out with friends anytime you want. Or being able to watch a movie in a private theatre with your friends any time you want. Imagine holding a group meeting or event anywhere in the world that you want. All these things are going to be possible. And that's why Facebook is investing so much early on in virtual reality. So we can hope to deliver these types of social experiences."
Coincidentally, Facebook said in a blog posted on 21 February that it is working on developing a dedicated team for VR social interactions. The team will work in collaboration with Oculus and Samsung's Gear VR team to explore the "future of social interactions in VR".
Facebook said: "Our work in VR is still early, and there are a lot of hardware and software challenges that we still need to solve. But we're encouraged by our progress to date, and we're excited to continue building VR technology that gives people new ways to connect and share."
Zuckerberg's appearance sidelined Samsung's main event, the launch of its water-resistant Galaxy S7 phone. Also, most of the flagship phone's specifications had leaked leaving little to surprise. It is perhaps in anticipation of such a situation that Samsung invited Zuckerberg.