Samsung, Google and Qualcomm are teaming up to create a new mixed reality platform
Samsung just announced that it will be collaborating with Google and Qualcomm on a mixed reality platform. The news was shared at the latest Unpacked event where the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy Book 3 were unveiled. Samsung did not say whether any specific products are in development or provide a specific timeline.
Mixed reality combines features of augmented reality and virtual reality.
The latest generation of headsets are developing mixed reality through crossover cameras, a technique that allows virtual and augmented reality technologies to blend together. Meta’s Quest 2 and Quest Pro headsets can do this, as can the upcoming Vive XR Elite. Apple headphones expected this year should incorporate the same concept.
The announcement comes at a time of growing interest in virtual, augmented and mixed reality. 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 arriving this month, and Google showed off a new pair of augmented reality glasses at Google I/O last year focused on language translation. Meta’s Quest 3 will arrive by the end of the year. Until now, Samsung has been relatively tight-lipped about virtual reality, with the exception of its Gear VR headset, which it introduced several versions of between 2015 and 2017.
This news makes sense because Samsung, Google and Qualcomm are already working together to make smartphones. Samsung designs Galaxy smartphones, Qualcomm provides the processor, and Google manages the Android operating system.
Samsung’s mobile division president TM Roh 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 of nearly every major virtual and augmented reality headset for years, and it’s committed to launching a line of phone-compatible VR and AR headsets over the next few years. Qualcomm is also partnering with Microsoft and Meta on future devices. It is not yet known if this new collaboration will be compatible with the Snapdragon Spaces platform for headphones and phones.
A similar partnership with Wear OS?
Two years ago, Samsung and Google announced that they were collaborating on a line of Wear OS watches, which spawned the Galaxy Watch 4 and preceded Google’s Pixel Watch. If this Qualcomm/Google/Samsung partnership is quite different, the spirit of the collaboration may be very similar.
On Wear OS, Samsung served as a hardware partner to help improve key 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 won’t be locked in a silo.
Just as Apple’s headphones will be compatible with existing Mac and iOS products, Samsung’s Google/Qualcomm partnership could do the same for Google and Samsung mobile devices.
CNET.com article adapted from CNETFrance
Photo: Sarah Tew/CNET