Samsung has its sights set on standalone VR headset, but R&D may take a while
After a year full of challenges, wrapped up with an unexpectedly underwhelming holiday quarter, everything seems to be going Samsung’s way once again. Smartphone sales are back on an upward trajectory, thanks mainly to the high-end Galaxy S7 duo, and the Note 6 could well maintain the momentum in H2, even with an iPhone 7 thrown in the mix.
Speaking of next-generation iPhones, the 7s or 8 should finally adopt OLED display technology, and Samsung is definitely on the short list of prospective parts suppliers, with a collaboration of this nature no doubt mutually benefiting the two’s financial standing.
Meanwhile, the Gear S2 smartwatch appears to be successful enough to justify a premium sequel in the fall, and the Gear VR’s early popularity might soon be further boosted by the launch of the Gear 360 spherical camera.
But that’s not all Samsung has planned for the fledgling, potential-brimming virtual reality industry. Down the line at some point, a “holodeck” capable of smartphone and PC-free operation will likely see daylight to take on similarly independent products reportedly cooked up by Google, as well as presumably Oculus and HTC.
The race is officially on to see who can release a “wireless and dedicated VR device” first, though Samsung’s head of R&D for software and services Injong Rhee warns the “amazing” industry is “still at its infancy”, so several more years of research and tests might be needed “before we see these kinds of features in devices from Samsung, or anyone else for that matter.”
He’s talking of course about positional tracking functions, plus hand and gesture tracking, an untethered VR headset being an entirely different kettle of fish from the current Gear VR and even the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.