Vodafone is launching a virtual reality (VR) headset in the UK that can be used with its new Smart Platinum 7 smartphone.

“Not ones for lagging behind the times, we’re dipping our toes into the VR waters with the new Smart VR headset,” the operator said.

With support for Google Cardboard’s virtual reality experience, slotting the Platinum 7 into the Smart VR headset “will unlock a whole new universe of interactive videos, games and vistas to explore,” it added.

Consumers who pre-order Vodafone’s Smart Platinum 7 device, which it described as its first premium 4G+ smartphone, will get a Vodafone Smart VR headset free. It will be available in the UK from 20 June.

The device, which weighs 260 grams, will not be sold as a stand-alone accessory in the UK but its retail price is £49.

The headset is manufactured by TCL Communication Technology and runs on the Google Cardboard ecosystem, which supports thousands of VR apps and games, Steve Shepperson-Smith, a Vodafone spokesman, told Mobile World Live.

He explained that Vodafone has a design team and works closely with component makers and manufacturers on its devices to make sure its customer research is taken into account and is delivered at the right price point.

“So, while we don’t manufacture, it’s very much a co-creation process,” he said.

He added that the device will be available internationally but since not all markets have launched the product locally, the firm is not disclosing “exactly which markets at this stage.”

Smart Platinum 7
After launching the Smart Ultra 6 smartphone last year, Vodafone has come out with its Smart Platinum 7 flagship device, available from £28/month on pay monthly contracts, and £300 on pay as you go. It claims it is made for “high flyers, tech fans and power users” and will “wow you friends and spare your wallet”.

“We’ve designed the Vodafone Smart Platinum 7 to be beautifully elegant. It is super slim, below 7 millimetres thick, has sensually curved 2.5D gorilla glass on the front and back to give it extra depth and tone and its aircraft grade aluminium body and diamond cut detailing have a precision finish that evokes the feel of luxury jewellery,” stated Daniel Schubert, head of industrial design.

The phone has an 8 megapixel front and 16 megapixel rear-facing camera. It includes a fingerprint sensor, has a thickness of 6.9mm and runs on Android 6.0 (Marshmallow).

It has 32GB of expandable storage and supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 technology.

With its first own-brand device launched in October 2006, the operator said it has sold over 85 million ‘Vodafone Devices’ to date.