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Samsung looks beyond the Galaxy S23 to make “extended reality” devices

by News Desk
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SAN FRANCISCO — Most of the time, Samsung Electronics holds its Unpacked product launch event in Northern California to unveil three new Galaxy S23 smartphones and several laptops. But that’s not all.

In addition to updating some of its core product lines, the company also revealed: will develop new “augmented reality” products and experiences with the help of key partners such as Google and Qualcomm.

Augmented reality (XR) is an umbrella term that describes several related technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality. And since these technologies reflect software, services, and different ways of physically viewing the world around us, Samsung’s announcement also means the company is developing a new wearable display or headset. Almost confirmed.

“A lot of different companies have made these announcements about different realities,” TM Roh, Samsung’s president and head of mobile experience business, said in an interview with The Washington Post. “So we are prepared as well, no worse than any other company.”

Roh didn’t go into detail about Samsung’s first XR product, which won’t appear at Wednesday’s launch event. “We’re getting there, but we’re not far off,” he said.

“For the chipset, it will be a strategic collaboration with Qualcomm. We will take care of the hardware,” Roh said. Also, the software is provided by Google, he added.

“We were trying to decide which platform to use for the sake of the ecosystem,” said Roh. “And in the end, we decided to make it Google,” he adds, adding that the previously unannounced Android operating system, which is intended to power devices such as wearable displays in particular. You mentioned the new version.

Google and Qualcomm have independently confirmed their partnership on XR.

Kaori Miyake, a Google spokeswoman, said:

Qualcomm said in a statement: “Building on our existing partnerships with Samsung and Google, we have meaningful plans to jointly advance XR devices and experiences. We have the foundation to propel the future of

Roh also said Samsung’s augmented reality efforts include service partnerships with Meta and Microsoft, but didn’t provide further details.

Creating reasons to use (and continue to use) these kinds of augmented reality devices is arguably more important than words for new gadgets. That’s why Samsung emphasized partnerships rather than specific product announcements at its launch event.

“We believe that the ecosystem has to be somewhat ready for the product to launch and for the product to be successful,” Roh said. “And, as you know, there have been many attempts by other companies in the past that have not been as successful as expected, probably because the ecosystem was not as ready as it should have been.”

It should come as no surprise that Samsung is working on a head-mounted computing gadget. It has a lot of history. In 2015, it became possible to experience virtual reality at an affordable price with the Gear VR headset, which users insert their smartphones into. (The company updated its headset design regularly until it stopped developing new headsets a few years later.) Then, in 2017, a headset intended for use with Windows PCs. It debuted the Odyssey and released a revised model the following year.

Samsung then pulled out of developing such products, and companies, including Facebook owner Meta, made immersive computing devices a cornerstone of their corporate strategy.But layoffs have recently been enforced since then meta Other companies including microsoftto downsize its augmented reality team, questioning the Metaverse’s vision in the process.

Meanwhile, Apple is widely expected to announce its first XR devices as early as this spring. Its product — a reportedly expensive mixed reality headset — is said to offer immersive visuals that can fade into the real-world view, as well as track hand and body movements. bloomberg newsApple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Much of the augmented reality hype has been directed at Meta and Apple, but the trio’s alliance of screen, software, and chip design expertise means this new endeavor will soon find a foothold in a crowded marketplace. And that could mean more options for consumers as the shape and range of devices we use to stay productive and stay connected change. .

But it was an important time for the company that gave us our first glimpse into Samsung’s next frontier. According to He, smartphone shipments will drop by 12% globally in 2022. Research company Canalisand weak demand for consumer gadgets led to Samsung’s lowest quarterly profit in recent days. in the year.

Roh acknowledged that market demand for smartphones could remain weak through the first half of this year as consumers remain cautious about their purchases.

Samsung is gearing up for its next project, but Roh said he doesn’t see the work as a viable risk to Samsung’s remaining mobile business. Despite shrinking demand, he believes he will continue to invest in “premium” products for the additional benefits offered by more cautious consumers.

For this year’s new Galaxy S23 smartphones, the processor performance has improved and the focus remains on the camera. For example, the $1,199.99 Galaxy S23 Ultra has a new 200-megapixel sensor that the company says will give better night photos.

“[Smartphones] We will continue to build on the capabilities and needs of our consumers to offer even more new experiences,” said Roh. And some of those experiences are more immersive, he said, that could change the way you look at and interact with your phone.

When it comes to augmented and mixed reality, “Of course there are devices for that,” says Roh. “But perhaps they can be combined with smartphones and developed further from there.”

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