Samsung, Google and Qualcomm are teaming up to create a new mixed reality platform

Samsung is the latest tech giant to dabble in 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 during Samsung’s Unpacked event Wednesday and follows reports suggesting that Apple could release its first virtual reality headset this year. Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon and Google Senior Vice President for Android Hiroshi Lockheimer appeared on stage to co-announce the collaboration.

Samsung didn’t mention if any specific products are in development. He also didn’t provide a timeline for upcoming mixed reality products or services.

“This is more of a declarative announcement about how we’re going to get it right trying to build the XR ecosystem,” TM Roh, president of Samsung’s mobile business, said in an interview with CNET by through a translator before the event.

“Google has a long history of investing in experiences and technology in AR and VR,” Lockheimer said on stage. “Delivering this next generation of experiences requires cutting-edge hardware and software. That’s why our collaboration with Samsung and Qualcomm is so exciting.”

Mixed reality is an umbrella term used to describe technology that combines features of augmented reality and virtual reality. Augmented reality blends software with the real world by overlaying graphics on the user’s environment, similar to Google Glass. Virtual reality, by comparison, encloses the wearer in a 360-degree virtual world, such as the Meta Quest 2.

However, a new wave of VR headsets are advancing mixed reality through passthrough cameras, a technique that allows VR and AR technologies to blend into a single product line. Meta’s Quest 2 and Pro Quest helmets can do it, just like the next one Vive XR Elite. Apples helmet expected should incorporate the same concept.

The announcement comes at a time when increased interest in virtual, augmented and mixed reality. Apple is expected to release a mixed reality headset in 2023 that could cost $3,000, according to Bloomberg. Sony’s PlayStation VR 2 and HTC’s Vive XR Elite are both set to launch this month, and Google teased a new pair of AR glasses at Google I/O last year aimed at language translation. Meta Quest 3 arrive by the end of the year.

Samsung has been relatively quiet on VR outside of its Gear VR headset, which it launched several iterations between 2015 and 2017. This device is a head-mounted case for smartphone-powered VR 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 researching the category for some time.

“And now we think we’ve reached a certain threshold,” he said.

The collaboration makes sense since Samsung, Google and Qualcomm are already working together to develop smartphones. Samsung builds the hardware for its Galaxy phones, while Qualcomm provides the processor and Google manages the software’s underlying Android operating system.

Roh said Google and Qualcomm will play similar roles in the development of this upcoming XR platform, although they likely overlap in some areas. Even if Qualcomm would provide the processor, for example, Samsung could make some optimizations, just like it was done for the chip in the Galaxy S23 line.

“Each player takes the lead in each category and then we will work closely together in the different categories,” Roh said.

CNET 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 meaningful plans to collectively advance XR experiences. With our Snapdragon XR innovations – with Samsung’s incredible products and technology from Google – we have the foundation to make these opportunities a reality and drive the future of space internet.”

Qualcomm has been the chip supplier for nearly every major VR and AR headset for years, and has its own initiative to drive a wave of compatible phones VR and AR headsets over the next few years. Qualcomm is also collaborating with Microsoft on its future AR glasses hardware, and with Meta on its future devices. It is not clear if this new collaboration will be compatible with Qualcomm’s existing one. Snapdragon Spaces platform for headsets and phones.

Google’s Kaori Miyake, when asked to comment, added, “We’re excited to work with our partners to create a new generation of immersive computing experiences that will further enhance what users can do with Google.”

A collaboration similar to Wear OS?

Two years ago, Samsung and Google announced a collaboration on a wave of next-gen Wear OS watches, culminating in the Galaxy Watch 4 and preceded Google Pixel Watch. While this Qualcomm/Google/Samsung partnership is entirely different, the spirit of the collaboration may be much the same.

On Wear OS, Samsung served as a hardware partner to help improve the core functions of Google’s next-generation watch platform, while Google focused on software crossovers with Android, as well as added Fitbit features. Building a successful next-gen mixed reality hardware platform will likely require compatibility with existing apps and even phones to ensure the end device doesn’t feel left on an island of apps as it often does. Meta material.

As Apple’s headset looks likely to weave in VR and AR compatibility with existing Mac and iOS products, Samsung’s Google/Qualcomm collaboration could do the same for Google and Samsung mobile hardware.

If that’s the kind of collaboration this mixed reality partnership suggests, then Google’s moves in this space remain the next big question mark.

Samsung has announced its mixed reality ambitions alongside its new galaxy book and Galaxy S23 smartphone range. The new series, which includes a standard, More and Ultra Versionoffers a collection of upgrades and is now available for pre-order.

Now Playing:
Look at this:

Super Small Vive XR Elite doesn’t really work for my eyes


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *