Samsung is making ‘extended reality’ wearable devices

Samsung is making ‘extended reality’ wearable devices

Samsung’s Unpacked event isn’t just focusing on the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy Book 3. The company revealed to the Washington Post that it’s working on “extended reality” wearable devices (i.e. augmented, mixed and virtual reality). While there aren’t many details, the hardware will run a new version of Android designed by Google and designed for portable displays – it’s not the heavily customized version of Meta on Android from the Quest line. Qualcomm will provide the chipset.

The “XR” hardware will also involve partnerships with Meta and Microsoft, although Samsung won’t elaborate further. Rumors have swirled that Microsoft has removed HoloLens 3 in favor of this project. In an interview with The Post, mobile president TM Roh said the ecosystem needed to be “somewhat ready” before launch. The tech giant wants to avoid the missteps of rivals who launched comparable hardware without sturdy support.

Samsung is no stranger to portable displays. The company hit the market with 2015’s Gear VR, which used the smartphone as both a display and computing power. In 2017, the firm got into PC-oriented mixed reality headsets with the HMD Odyssey. However, Samsung largely left the market to rivals like Meta and HTC after 2018.

Whether the time is right or not is another matter. Roh says Samsung has been working on its latest initiative for some time, and it could give the brand a quick way to counter a long-rumored Apple headset that could debut this spring. That said, Meta struggled with its Metaverse efforts and cut 11,000 jobs to cut costs last fall. Microsoft, meanwhile, has faced issues including the halting of military sales of HoloLens, the departure of the team leader over allegations of misconduct, and reports that the company may have removed the entire HoloLens unit in connection with its recent layoffs. Samsung is re-entering the mixed reality space as some of the biggest players in the category waver or retreat – it’s unclear if the Galaxy maker fare any better.

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