Just last week we caught wind of a rumor claiming Samsung is preparing to enter the virtual reality headset game with its own solution designed to be paired with Samsung’s Android-powered devices. At the time, we weren’t terribly surprised given Samsung’s penchant for jumping into unproven markets with the hopes of hitting a homerun. What is a bit surprising, however, is that Engadget is back with new details about the VR headset — including the claim that Oculus is teaming up with Samsung for the effort.
Samsung wants to rush their product out to the market on-the-cheap, while Oculus plans to take its time with its own VR solution.
Now to be clear, Oculus is still intent on releasing its own powerful VR headset with PC gaming in mind. The reason for partnering with Samsung’s effort is simple: Samsung has promised the company access to its next-gen high-resolution (above 1080p) OLED displays. This is something Oculus needs if it really wants to make a massive dent in the VR market.
So what is Oculus doing for Samsung? While the headset’s hardware will be built in house by Sammy, Oculus is helping Samsung with the software side of things. In fact, Samsung’s current prototype software is essentially just an early version of the Oculus mobile SDK. Samsung eventually plans to expand the software functionality with Oculus’ help.
Just remember that the two products won’t directly compete with one another. Samsung wants to rush their product out to the market on-the-cheap, while Oculus plans to take its time and could release the final hardware with a more “premium” price tag.
Turning to the hardware side, the Samsung Galaxy VR (or whatever Samsung ends up calling it) will actually have a slot for your phone and will not only use many of your phone’s sensors and hardware components, the phone will also act as the display. This might sound fairly odd, but reportedly early tests using the Galaxy S4 have actually been pretty impressive.
Using a phone as the “brains” also gives Samsung’s virtual reality hardware some pretty cool capabilities, such as the ability to see through the virtual world and get a glimpse of what’s going on in the real world. This will apparently be done by using the phone’s rear camera to give you an optional window into what’s going on outside of your game.
The Samsung VR headset willhave a slot for your phone and will not only use many of your phone’s sensors and hardware components, the phone will also act as the display.
Now Samsung’s VR solution might not be anything new, as other phone-based solutions exist, but a combination of advanced hardware and aggressive pricing could still make Samsung’s device stand out from the crowd. Samsung will also reportedly optimize other apps and multimedia for its headset, going beyond just gaming.
Bottom-line, Samsung wants to bring us an affordable “more mainstream” virtual reality experience that plays nicely with Galaxy phones. Now the only question left is whether or not consumers will actually be interested. What do you think, like the idea or not?