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New Samsung Gear VR And AR Headset Similar To Microsoft HoloLens In The Works

17 December 2016, 6:00 pm EST By Carl Velasco Tech Times
Samsung is working on two new devices, one for virtual reality and another for augmented reality. The former is poised to succeed its present-day VR headset Gear VR, while the latter is supposedly able to project realistic holograms.  ( Samsung )

Samsung is hard at work creating new virtual and augmented reality systems, with the former poised as a Gear VR successor, and the latter touted as its own version of Microsoft's HoloLens.

A new Gear VR is slated "to be presented in a short time," according to Sung-Hoon Hong, Samsung Electronics VP, while details about the HoloLens-esque augmented reality system are still hazy.

Gear VR Successor

Wearable Zone has a lengthy coverage of Hong's appearance at the Virtual Reality Summit in California, largely detailing points from his talk that discussed the future of artificial intelligence, VR and AR, three fronts it considers as Samsung's new "challenge." Hong noted that Samsung intends to improve upon HoloLens and Magic Leap for its own AR tech.

Samsung Thinks AR Bears More Business Potential

During his talk, Hong said that Samsung is currently developing a "light field engine" able to project realistic holograms. These holograms are so real, in fact, that they're ostensibly "touchable," as per Hong's words. In his talk, he opined that AR ties to "much better business development," a sentiment he and Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, share. The technology is expected to make an appearance at next year's Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona come February.

In Search Of Possible Partners

Samsung is currently looking at potential collaborators for its AR project, name-dropping the aforementioned Magic Leap, a Florida startup that promises to deliver an eponymous mixed reality device. Just recently Magic Leap was reported to be struggling to fulfill its own promises as its patented fiber-optic technology is not shaping as it would have liked.

Hong wasn't able to confirm if Samsung is officially in talks with possible companies to work with for its AR project, although it's not a surprising move if the company indeed takes the intent forward. Its Gear VR, released late 2015 and refreshed early 2016, was the offspring of a Samsung and Oculus partnership.

Samsung has also promised to release a phone that's able to support Daydream, Google's bumped up VR platform after Cardboard.

At present, commercial AR is almost unheard of, although it does exist, but mostly limited to head-up displays utilized in more professional settings or integrated into sports equipment. Mixed reality devices such as the HoloLens are still miles from consumer-friendly price points, with the aforementioned Microsoft device priced at $3,000, which doesn't exactly scream affordable. This market status will likely change once more companies develop proprietary mixed reality devices, and with Samsung interested in the field, it's not hard to imagine that others could follow suit.

There's no telling the actual progress of Samsung's AR project, but it's good news that the company is eyeing the technology.

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