Samsung, Google and Qualcomm join forces to create a new mixed reality platform

Samsung has just announced that they will collaborate with Google and Qualcomm on an upcoming mixed reality platform. The news was shared at the Unpacked event where the latest Galaxy S23 and Galaxy Book 3 were unveiled. Samsung did not say whether any specific products were in development or give a specific timeline.

Mixed reality combines the features of augmented reality and virtual reality.

The latest generation of headsets promotes mixed reality through passthrough cameras, a technique that allows virtual and augmented reality technologies to blend. Meta’s Quest 2 and Quest Pro headsets can do this, as can the upcoming Vive XR Elite. The Apple headphones expected this year should incorporate the same concept.

This announcement comes at a time when virtual, augmented and mixed reality is attracting increasing interest. According to Bloomberg, Apple is expected to release a mixed reality headset in 2023 that could cost $3,000. Sony’s PlayStation VR 2 and HTC’s Vive XR Elite are coming this month, and Google showed off a new pair of augmented reality glasses at Google I/O last year for language translation. Meta’s Quest 3 is coming before the end of the year. So far, Samsung has been relatively tight-lipped about virtual reality, with the exception of its Gear VR headset, of which it launched several versions between 2015 and 2017.

This news makes sense as Samsung, Google and Qualcomm are already working together to develop smartphones. Samsung designs its Galaxy smartphones, Qualcomm supplies the processor, and Google manages the Android operating system.

TM Roh, president of Samsung’s mobile division, explained that Google and Qualcomm will play a similar role in the development of the upcoming mixed reality platform.

Qualcomm has been the chip supplier for nearly every major virtual and augmented reality headset for years, and has launched its own initiative to launch a line of phone-compatible VR and AR headsets over the next few years. Qualcomm is also collaborating with Microsoft and Meta on their future devices. It is not yet known if this new collaboration will be compatible with the Snapdragon Spaces platform for headsets and phones.

A collaboration similar to Wear OS?

Two years ago, Samsung and Google announced a collaboration on a series of next-generation Wear OS watches, which spawned the Galaxy Watch 4 and preceded Google’s Pixel Watch. If this Qualcomm/Google/Samsung partnership is completely different, the spirit of the collaboration may be very similar.

On Wear OS, Samsung served as a hardware partner to help improve the core features of Google’s next-generation watch platform, while Google focused on software crossovers with Android, as well as adding Fitbit features. Achieving a successful next-generation mixed reality hardware platform will likely require compatibility with existing apps and phones so the end product isn’t locked into a silo.

Just as Apple’s headset would presumably weave compatibility with existing Mac and iOS products, Samsung’s Google/Qualcomm collaboration could do the same for Google and Samsung’s mobile devices. article adapted by CNETFrance

Image: Sarah Tew/CNET

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