You have to give Samsung credit for noticing the incoming trend of virtual reality well over a year before the industry really began to take off. Via a partnership with Oculus, they were able to release the Samsung Gear VR headset back in November of last year, and since that time have gone on to sell hundreds of thousands of these devices. They also managed to beat out the higher-end devices, and cater towards a larger crowd of VR enthusiasts, thanks to the $99 price point of the Gear VR.
Recently, other manufacturers have come on board with affordable VR headsets. Namely, LG, who has recently unveiled the LG360 headset at a $199 price point, and rumors suggest that Google is working on a headset of their own, which will be a step or two above their Google Cardboard device. With such impending competition, one had to question when Samsung would one-up themselves with the launch of an even more dynamic headset, or perhaps launch a device that does not require a Samsung-branded smartphone.
Well, today at the Samsung Developers Conference in San Francisco, the company’s head of R&D for software and services, Injong Rhee, gave us all something to look forward to.
“We are working on wireless and dedicated VR devices, not necessarily working with our mobile phone,” Rhee explained.
Rhee also went on to suggest that Samsung was looking into ways to better track hand movement and other gestures, although he said that they may be well over a year from integrating any such gesture recognition technology into a VR device. While there has been no indication as to when such a new standalone device could be launched, one has to wonder what such a launch could do to the company’s close ties with Oculus.
2016 seems to be a big year for the VR space. While it’s already gotten off to a bang with the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift’s launch, I’m willing to bet that over the remaining seven months of the year we will see a number of innovative product launches, making virtual reality more affordable, and also more immersive. Let’s hear your thoughts on the possibilities that lie ahead in the Samsung Standalone VR headset forum on VRTalk.com.