Samsung has done a good job in pushing VR towards a wider audience in 2016. This month they have confirmed rumours that the Korean tech giant is working on a follow-up headset. However, there is more. There will be not one, but two new Gear headsets in 2017. One of these will be focused more on AR, most likely to protect against the Hololens and whatever it is Magic Leap are releasing.
Samsung Gear VR 3?
During a Virtual Reality gathering in California, Samsung’s VP Dr Sung-Hoon Hong confirmed the development of the Gear VR 2. However, Dr Hong also revealed the company is working on the Gear VR 3. While we are likely to see the Gear VR 2 soon, as Samsung will likely tie it to the release of the Galaxy S8, it’s not fully known when the VR 3 will come out. Dr Hong did say that the headset will focus more on AR than VR.
There are no mock-ups available, only the word of the VP. Attendants of the meet-up were also informed that Samsung has developed light-field engine technology for this headset. The idea is to create near life-like holograms, similar to what we have seen with Hololens tests. Slashgear, who reported on the announcement, believe that this will also lead to a redesign of the headset’s aesthetics as well. It will more likely resemble Google Glass or the HoloLens.
Entering against stiff competition
AR on mobiles is nothing new, and the technology is getting really good. Lenovo’s Phab 2 for example runs with Google Tango, which runs Google’s AR technology extremely well. We have also highlighted Occipital’s Bridge headset, which runs AR on the iPhone. Add to this the impending unveiling of Magic Leap’s technology and teh eventual full roll-out of the HoloLens, and Samsung has a lot to work against. For a company currently fighting against a pretty terrible year for public image, between exploding phones and documented worker abuse, a lot is riding on the new Samung Gear headsets.
The Samsung Gear VR 2 will release early next year most likely, but there is no release date yet. The Gear VR 3 will probably be shown off at the Mobile World Conference 2017, and actual release date could be quite a while after that.