Continuing to push its established mobile VR business—recently revealing its flagship Galaxy S8 smartphones support and an updated Gear VR with controller—Samsung has again confirmed it has more powerful VR hardware up its sleeve. High-end, standalone VR headsets from Samsung are still in development, according to a report by CNET.
During an interview in South Korea just before the Galaxy S8 launch, Lee Young-hee, executive vice president of global marketing for Samsung mobile, confirmed that a high-end, standalone headset is “still under construction”. It is unclear whether the device can be tethered to a PC, but it is targeting “media producers and pro gamers”, so it certainly sounds like a device with aspirations to compete against the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about a high-end VR headset from Samsung. Having collaborated with Oculus from an early stage in the Rift’s development, the technology giant has hinted at ambitious plans for VR over recent years, and recently showcased new VR/AR experiments at MWC. According to a report by PCWorld, prototype headsets were shown behind closed doors at the Barcelona event, showcasing the performance of their new 10nm Exynos 9 chips. Can a mobile chip deliver VR experiences comparable to those rendered on a high-end PC?
In April 2016, Injong Rhee, head of R&D for software and services confirmed the development of a standalone VR headset with positional tracking, and evidence of the ‘Odyssey’ gaming brand being associated with VR surfaced in July. During last year’s Samsung Developers Conference, Rhee discussed the vision of Samsung’s future VR hardware, calling out four key points – motion tracking, untethered, touch, and a ‘holodeck experience’.
“We have two tracks” for VR, said Lee Young-hee in the build-up to the Galaxy S8 launch. “First of all, let’s democratize this new demand … [and] make it part of our smartphone experience.”