Last week, we heard that Samsung was gearing up to create its own virtual reality headset. This week, again courtesy of Engadget, the rumor mill is reporting that Samsung and Oculus, the company behind the Oculus Rift VR headset, are working to collaborate on a new VR headset for Samsung devices.
The project works like this. Oculus will do what it does best and take care of the software development, including the user interface. Then, Samsung will give up what it does best, its next-generation high-res OLED displays, for Oculus to use in its VR headsets. Oculus isn’t planning to give up on its own headsets while working on the Samsung headset. In order to make Oculus’ headset the best on the market, Oculus needs access to the best displays on the market, which Samsung has.
But wait, there’s more! Like any good infomercial, there’s something weird to throw everyone off. In this case, it’s the hardware set-up that Samsung’s using. Rather than using a dedicated display like the ones that Oculus will be using, Samsung will use its smartphones as the display for the headset. The phone will plug into the headset, thus acting as a display, CPU, and camera. The idea is more practical than it seems. Not needing to integrate all of the internals into the headset will cut costs drastically. As well, the phone’s camera could be used through the headset, though lag could present an issue. The main concern that we have is battery life, as a headset of this nature sounds as though it could eat through a smartphone battery and still be ready for seconds.
The software is said to still be in very beta form. Samsung is experimenting with different forms of interactivity ranging from head movements to a dedicated gamepad to voice controls. Nobody really knows which technology will make it to the final product, but we’re hoping that it will be more intuitive than lots of head movements.
Samsung is still aiming for a launch later this year, and Engadget reports that sources with dev kits have been impressed so far. Current prototypes are able to run off of a Galaxy S 4, but the consumer model is said to require at least a Galaxy S5. In any case, we’re intrigued by this move from Samsung and Oculus.
What are your thoughts on this latest development? What would you like to see in Samsung’s VR headset?