Even though Samsung Gear VR was discontinued in 2020, Samsung is not stopping there. During its Unpacked 2023 event, the company announced that it has partnered with Qualcomm and Google to develop future extended reality products. Specifically, a mixed-reality headset. Apple may have to watch out, competition seems to be heating up.
Google and Qualcomm partnering with Samsung on an XR headset
Extended reality, also known as XR, is the umbrella word that encompasses all three types of reality: augmented, virtual, and mixed. And to invest in the future of XR, Samsung has announced a new relationship with Qualcomm and Google.
The Washington Post met with TM Roh, head of mobile experience at Samsung, to discuss Samsung’s role in the development of extended reality. The company wants to give customers new justifications for using wearable headsets powered by XR software.
The chipset is going to be provided by Qualcomm, and Google will supply the software. Meta and Microsoft are going to serve as service partners for the headset. During the interview, Roh also mentioned a yet-to-be-released version of Android that is being created for wearable screens.
“For the ecosystem, we were trying to determine which platform to work with,” Roh said. “And in the end, we decided that it was going to be Google,” he added, referring to a new, previously unannounced version of the Android operating system meant specifically to power devices such as wearable displays.
It’s arguably more crucial to give people a purpose to use these kinds of extended reality gadgets than to simply disclose the existence of a new gadget, which is why Samsung focused on its partnerships at its launch event rather than making a specific product announcement.
“We believe that the ecosystem has to be somewhat ready for the product to be launched and for the product to be successful as well,” Roh said. “And as you know, there have been many attempts by other companies so far, but not as successful as had been hoped because perhaps the ecosystem was not as ready as it should have been.”
Samsung’s announcement comes as Apple’s first mixed-reality headset is reported to be on track for a 2023 announcement. However, we do not know when Samsung plans to release its headset.