May 31 AT 9:56 AM Nick Sarafolean 2 Comments

Samsung and Oculus collaborating on new VR headset

Samsung VR Headset

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?

Source: Engadget

A nerd at heart, Nick is an average person who has a passion for all things electronic. When not spending his time writing about the latest gadgets, Nick enjoys reading, dabbling in photography, and experimenting with anything and everything coffee. Should you wish to know more about him, you can follow him on Twitter @nsarafolean.

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  • John in Brisbane

    I’ve got an Oculus dev kit and it’s clearly got a future. For the price, it is an incredible bargain and if you’ve got a high end laptop or mid/high end PC I urge you to just get one. I’ve got a pretty good PC but I had to upgrade from a pair of gtx 260 graphics cards (the same graphics power as one ati 5870) to a gtx 770 to make the thing run smoothly. For non-nerds, even my old setup was vastly superior to anything we’ll be seeing in a phone anytime soon. The GTX 770 was over $400 – more than the goggles! And the dev kit is only running 1280 x 800. Plus, the thing with VR is your graphics must be much more than adequate – my old setup played games fine but any lag or judder in the VR headset is super noticeable and ruins the experience. The idea of using a smart phone for VR is good and I bet there are plenty of ways to streamline the setup but I’ve got doubts about the ability of a phone to adequately power a good VR experience.

    Oculus has a good product and a good attitude. The Dev kit is well made and turned up in a nice padded carry case – that spoke volumes to me about their attitude.

    • http://no stokis

      i think in the first model you will be able to watch movies like in a cinema and play games with very simple graphics. It is clear that noone hopes to play complex 3d games on a mobile phone on VR headset, because it is to weak to do that. But in the near future (year 2017 or 2018), maybe we will play 3d games with decent graphics on it!