If we look back in time, in the past decade mobile technology has faced several breakthroughs – first we had color displays, then touch screens, then accurate touch screens with better resolution, VGA cameras, then megapixels, and so on. Now that smartphones are as powerful as some desktop computers, there are new frontiers appearing on the horizon, and one of the hottest topics for this year is virtual reality (VR), which can give users an immersive experience of video, with a very wide range of applications from entertainment to gaming and professional usage. One of the main companies to see the potential of VR was Samsung, and the South Korean giant has put a lot in the table with their newest flagship phones.
The Galaxy S7 has a plethora of compelling features, but Samsung is giving a huge focus on a different concept for smartphones: they are virtual reality machines. This is interesting and shows that Samsung is serious in this game. Some people wonder how big VR is going to be in the near future, and although we still don't know for sure as the technology is still getting popular, earlier this week HTC sold 15,000 units of its very expensive virtual reality headset (HTC Vive) in just a few minutes. This is a very significant number, and if VR becomes the next big thing in mobile technology, Samsung has a huge advantage against its main competitor and is years ahead of Apple in this area.
The Korean maker now has two generations of smartphones with VR that can be explored with a simple $100 device (the Gear VR). Having your phone in your face doesn't mean much when you don't have content to explore it, but Samsung has a dedicated store full of VR apps, and the company has partnered with Oculus VR, one of the main companies behind consumer VR, which Facebook bought for a few billion. Apple is reportedly trying to catch up to this and reports say that the iPhone maker has a huge team with hundreds of people for developing Virtual and Augmented reality technologies. Smartphones have reached a point where processing power, RAM and camera can't really get a huge leap in current technology and alternative features such as VR can be one of the main selling points for smartphones in the near future. If this is the case, Samsung has had a head start over the competition, and even Apple will have to work hard to catch up.