Samsung to Build Its own Metaverse Hardware in Partnership with Google and Qualcomm
At the Samsung Unpacked event today, the company announced that it is planning to build new ‘Extended Reality’ (XR) hardware in partnership with both Qualcomm and Google.
The main focus of the Samsung event was the new Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra phone, along with various other hardware announcements.
Samsung was active in the VR market in the early days of the industry and looks set for a comeback with the new device it announced at the keynote. Additional interviews about the device were provided in the interviews that preceded the event.
In the keynote, Samsung President TM Roh brought onstage Qualcomm CEO and President Cristiano Amon and SVP for Platforms and Ecosystems at Google Hiroshi Lockheimer. Amon gave a speech on Qualcomm’s current partnership with Samsung and hinted that the chip manufacturer is partnering with Samsung on the development of new XR technology.
Amon said the two companies are partnering to “bring next-generation experiences” to Samsung’s other Galaxy products such as tablets, XR, laptops, and more. He said that the two were working on creating a new era of “highly immersive digital experiences” capable of blurring the lines between the digital and physical worlds.
He stated that a combination of Qualcomm’s XR technology, Samsung’s impressive product lineup, and Google’s experiences will lay the foundation for driving the future of spatial internet.
In the run-up to the event, the Samsung boss did an interview with Washington Post where he provided a few details on the company’s partnership with Qualcomm and Google along with its XR plans.
Samsung Hardware and Google Ecosystem
In the interview, he stated that this would be a strategic collaboration with the chip maker. As in Qualcomm’s other partnerships with XR hardware manufacturers, the hardware will be Samsung. However, Samsung will use Google software in the XR devices.
The Washington Post reports that the Google ecosystem that Samsung is referring to is a “new, previously unannounced” Android operating system version that has been specifically built to power devices like wearable displays.
The Samsung boss didn’t provide additional details on the first XR platform that would sprout from the collaboration but hinted that the company is “getting there” and “not too far away” from the platform. He further indicated that Samsung’s new XR push would also entail service partnerships with Microsoft and Meta but no further details were provided.
Samsung describes its latest XR push as “new” but the company has been active in the XR space for a decade now. In the 2010s, it partnered with Facebook for its Samsung Gear VR headsets which consisted of a series of smartphone-based virtual reality headsets which saw some success in the consumer market before the Quest headsets came to dominate this market segment.
In 2017, Samsung released its PC VR Windows Mixed Reality headset, the Samsung Odyssey. It followed this a year later with the Samsung Odyssey+ headset released in 2018.
A design patent spotted in 2020 suggested that Samsung was working on a new Odyssey headset. Further reports in 2022 suggested that Samsung is developing an augmented reality headset. Last December, further reports emerged indicating that Samsung was planning to send out the AR/VR headsets to developers this year.
In the interview with Washington Post, the Samsung boss said that the announcement of the company’s next XR product focused on the partnership rather than the device itself because the company believes the ecosystem has to be ready for a successful product launch.