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 an upcoming mixed reality platform. The news was shared duringon Wednesday and follow reports suggesting that . Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon and Google’s Android SVP Hiroshi Lockheimer appeared on stage to jointly announce the collaboration.
Samsung did not mention whether specific products are being developed. It also did not provide a timeline for upcoming mixed reality products or services.
“It’s more of a declarative announcement about how we’re going to get it right in trying to build the XR ecosystem,” TM Roh, president of Samsung’s mobile division, said in an interview with CNET through a translator ahead of the event.
“Google has been investing for a long time in both experiences and technology in AR and VR,” Lockheimer said onstage. “Delivering this next generation of experiences requires cutting-edge, advanced hardware and software. That’s why our collaboration with Samsung and Qualcomm is so exciting.”
Mixed reality is a general term used to describe technology that combines the features of virtual and augmented reality. Augmented reality blends the software with the real world by overlaying graphics on top of the user’s environment, similar to Google Glass. Virtual reality, by comparison, engulfs the user in a 360-degree virtual world, like the.
However, a new wave of virtual reality headsets is promoting mixed reality through pass-through cameras, a technique that allows virtual reality and augmented reality technologies to be blended into a single product line. Meta’s Quest 2 andheadphones can do this, as can the next . of Apple should incorporate the same concept.
The announcement comes at a time of according to Bloomberg. from sony Playstation VR 2 Y HTC Live XR Elite both are scheduled to launch this month, and Google teased a new pair of AR glasses at Google I/O last year for language translation. Goals It is coming to the end of the year.in virtual, augmented and mixed reality. Apple is expected to launch a mixed reality headset in 2023 that could cost $3,000,
Samsung has been relatively quiet about virtual reality, aside from its Gear VR headset, which it launchedfrom between 2015 and 2017. That device is a head-mounted holster for smartphone-powered virtual reality experiences. Roh says there has been more consumer demand for augmented and virtual reality, which is why the company chose this time to start discussing its plans. He says the company has been looking into the category for a while.
“And now we think we’ve reached a certain threshold,” he said.
The collaboration makes sense as Samsung, Google and Qualcomm already work together to develop smartphones. Samsung builds the hardware for its Galaxy phones, whileand Google manages the software’s underlying Android operating system.
Roh said that Google and Qualcomm will play similar roles in the development of this upcoming XR platform, although they are likely to overlap in certain areas. Although Qualcomm would supply the processor, for example, Samsung could make some optimizations, just as it did with the chip within the Galaxy S23 line.
“Each player is taking the lead in each category, and then we will work very closely in the different categories,” Roh said.
CNET has 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 significant plans to collectively drive XR experiences forward. With our Snapdragon XR innovations, along with Samsung products. and Google technology – we have the foundation to realize these opportunities and power the future of the Space Internet.”
Qualcomm has been the chip provider for almost every major VR and AR headset for years, and has its own initiative to power a wave of phone-compatible devices.In the next years. Qualcomm also collaborates in its future AR glasses hardware, and with Meta in its . It is not clear if this new collaboration will be compatible with the existing Qualcomm one. platform for headphones and phones.
Google’s Kaori Miyake, when asked for comment, added: “We’re excited to work with our partners to create a new generation of immersive computing experiences that will further elevate what users can do with Google.”
A collaboration similar to Wear OS?
Two years ago, Samsung and Googlein a next-generation wave of Wear OS watches, resulting in the and preceded Google . While this Qualcomm/Google/Samsung partnership is completely different, the spirit of the collaboration may be very similar.
On Wear OS, Samsung served as a hardware partner to help improve core features of Google’s next-generation watch platform, while Google emphasized software crossovers with Android, as well as adding Fitbit features. To create a successful next-generation mixed reality hardware platform, compatibility with existing apps and even phones will likely be required to ensure that the end device doesn’t feel left on an island of apps as hardware often does. of Goal.
Since Apple’s headsets are likely to offer VR and AR compatibility with existing Mac and iOS products, the collaboration between Google and Samsung’s Qualcomm could do the same for Google and Samsung mobile hardware.
If this is the kind of collaboration this mixed reality partnership suggests, then Google’s moves into this space remain the next big question mark.
Samsung announced its mixed reality ambitions along with itswhich include faster performance, longer battery life on the two smaller models, and improved cameras.
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