Virtual reality (VR) offers users a way to immerse themselves in a virtual world to enjoy experiences in a much more realistic way than traditional displays allow, complete with 360-degree head tracking, stereoscopic 3D, and more. Over the past few years, VR has become more popular as new options continue to enter the market. Current VR headsets typically work in conjunction with either a computer, game console, or mobile device. Mobile devices have a few notable advantages that make them ideal for VR, such as various motion tracking sensors and high-resolution displays, and one of the best mobile VR solutions available right now is Samsung’s Gear VR. The Gear VR holds a Galaxy smartphone and has some if its own sensors built in to increase motion tracking accuracy. Now, the Samsung is cautiously looking ahead to the next evolution of VR devices.
According to Samsung President and Chief Strategy Officer Young Sohn, next-generation VR headsets need to focus on improving battery consumption, latency, and display technology. While Samsung arguably makes some of the best smartphone displays on the market, displays may have to be even sharper to maintain an ideal level of detail when located so close to the user’s eyes. However, the company is hesitant to jump right into the next generation of VR, which may include things like standalone VR headsets that don’t require the use of mobile devices and extremely high-resolution displays. Sohn feels that the VR industry may currently be at its peak, at least for the time being, and that there may not be enough demand in the current market for such devices to make them worthwhile. Samsung is rumored to have a standalone VR headset already planned, and Sohn did confirm that they are considering standalone VR products, but they may not make it to market anytime soon, as the company plans to hold back for now and see where the industry goes. Sohn did note that moving VR forward would provide motivation for the company move toward building higher-resolution displays for other purposes, though the cost of such an investment would be around $5 billion to $10 billion. And as with most new powerful technology, it would likely be very expensive for consumers to buy until it became more widely adopted.
Samsung is not the only company looking toward the development of a standalone VR headset. Intel is working on Project Alloy, a VR headset that does not have to be tethered to a computer or game console, and does not need a mobile device because the display and sensors are built in. It will also use hand-tracking technology for input rather than a traditional controller. Although Samsung, one of the biggest names in VR, will be holding back for the time being, that doesn’t mean the industry will stop moving forward, and waiting to see how consumers react to other products may give Samsung the insight it needs to make the perfect next-gen VR headset when the time comes.