Samsung plans to ship an AR/VR headset to developers next year.
South Korean outlet Electronic Times reports that Samsung has already built prototypes and is testing samples for production. The idea is to give developers the hardware and SDK to create content “to create a market by building an ecosystem rather than hastily launching products.”
Samsung has been the hardware partner for Meta and Microsoft’s VR ambitions, but has yet to try its luck as a platform provider.
Starting in 2014, it partnered with Facebook on the phone-based Gear VR, making it the first widely-shipped consumer VR product. But by 2019 then-CTO John Carmack pronounced him dead because the friction involved in inserting your phone meant that standalone headsets took over. In 2020, updates officially stopped for the platform.
End of 2017 Samsung launched Odyssey, a Windows VR headset, and a year later the successor Odyssey+. Both used the same OLED screens as the Oculus Quest and original HTC Vive Pro, with lens separation adjustment and built-in headphones. In 2020, China’s intellectual property office granted Samsung a patent for a successor with four tracking cameras, but no product came out of it.
Reports have been circulating for over four years of Samsung working on its own standalone AR/VR headset. Nothing has been officially announced yet, but with the success of Meta’s Quest line and new entrants on the horizon like Apple, could Samsung finally be ready to really take the leap?