Samsung is the latest tech giant to lean into virtual and augmented reality. The smartphone maker says it will work with Google and Qualcomm on the upcoming mixed-reality platform. The news was shared during Samsung’s Unpacked event on Wednesday and following reports suggesting that Apple may release its first virtual reality headset this year.
Samsung did not mention whether any specific products are being developed. It also did not provide a timeline for any future mixed-reality products or services.
“This is more of a declarative announcement about how we’re going to get it right in trying to build the XR ecosystem,” said TM Roh, president of Samsung’s mobile division, in an interview with CNET via a interpreter before the event.
Mixed Reality is a blanket term used to describe technology that combines the characteristics of augmented and virtual reality. Augmented reality blends software with the real world by overlaying graphics on top of the user’s environment, similar to Google Glass. Virtual reality, by contrast, involves the wearer in a 360-degree virtual world, such as Meta Quest 2.
However, a new wave of VR headsets is advancing mixed reality through passthrough cameras, a technique that allows VR and AR technologies to blend into one product line. The Quest for Meta 2 and Search Pro Headsets can do this, just like the future Vive XR Elite. by Apple expected headset should cover the same concept.
The announcement comes in an hour of more interest in virtual, augmented and mixed reality. Apple is expected to release a mixed-reality headset in 2023 that could cost $3,000, according to Bloomberg. Sony’s PlayStation VR 2 and HTC’s Vive XR Elite are both set to launch this month, and Google teased a new pair of AR glasses at last year’s Google I/O aimed at language translation. . Metas Finding 3 coming to the end of the year.
Samsung has been relatively quiet about virtual reality except for its Gear VR headset, which it launched many iterations between 2015 and 2017. That device is a head holster for smartphone-powered VR experiences. Roh said that there is a lot of demand from consumers for augmented and virtual reality, so the company chose this time to start discussing its plans. He said the company has been researching the category for a while.
“And now we believe we have reached a certain threshold,” he said.
The collaboration makes sense because Samsung, Google and Qualcomm already work together to make smartphones. Samsung builds the hardware of its Galaxy phones, while Qualcomm provides the processor and Google manages the underlying Android operating system software.
Roh said that Google and Qualcomm will play similar roles in the development of this future XR platform, although they will likely overlap in some areas. Although Qualcomm will provide the processor, for example, Samsung may make some optimizations, as it did for the chip inside the Galaxy S23 line.
“Each player leads in each category, and then we work together very well in different categories,” Roh said.
CNET reached out to Qualcomm for comment on the partnership, and received the following prepared statement: “Building on our existing collaboration with Samsung and Google, we have meaningful plans to collectively push XR experiences forward. With with our Snapdragon XR innovations — along with Samsung’s unique products and Google technology — we have the foundation to make these opportunities a reality and drive the future of the spatial internet.”
Qualcomm has been the chip supplier for almost every major VR and AR headset for years, and has its own initiative to bring a wave of phone compatibility. VR and AR headsets in the next few years. Qualcomm is also cooperating with Microsoft of its upcoming AR glasses hardware, and with Meta future tools. It is not clear whether this new collaboration will match the existing one with Qualcomm Snapdragon Slots platform for headsets and phones.
Google’s Kaori Miyake, when asked for comment, added, “We are excited to work with our partners to create a new generation of immersive computing experiences that will further enhance the capabilities of Google users.”
A collaboration similar to Wear OS?
Two years ago, Samsung and Google announces a collaboration of next-generation Wear OS watches, resulting in Galaxy Watch 4 and mainly Google Pixel Watch. While this Qualcomm / Google / Samsung partnership is very different, the spirit of collaboration will be very similar.
With Wear OS, Samsung serves as a hardware partner to help develop the core functions of Google’s next-gen watch platform, while Google promotes software crossovers with Android, as well as adding Fitbit features. To create a successful next-generation mixed reality hardware platform, it will likely require compatibility with existing apps and even phones to ensure that the end device doesn’t feel left on an island. in the app as in Meta’s hardware.
As Apple’s headset is likely to weave VR and AR compatibility into existing Mac and iOS products, the Google/Qualcomm collaboration with Samsung could also do the same for Google and Samsung mobile hardware.
If this is the kind of collaboration this mixed reality integration suggests, then Google’s moves in this space remain the next big question mark.
Samsung announced its mixed reality ambitions alongside it new Galaxy S23 smartphone linewhich includes faster performance, longer battery life in both smaller models, and better cameras.