A GEARVR NEWS BULLETIN
Samsung Building New Stand-Alone VR Device!
According to the news websites Variety, Wareable, Android Authority, QZ, IGN, and Gizmodo (and probably many others by now), Samsung is moving Oculus to the back burner as merely the GearVR interface, OS, and software administrators … while they will take the lead with hardware. Because that’s what Samsung does best. I don’t know how Oculus and Facebook are taking this news, or if it was in part their own idea due to the amount of complaints people have over the CE1’s poor comfort level and lack of adjustable IPD or even a fan to help with the fogging issues.
I also want to point out on purpose why I opened with how many sources this particular news comes from. The reason is that this shows just how quickly any VR news about new devices (especially from Samsung itself) goes viral, proving the increasing popularity and awareness of VR really is here in 2016, just as predicted. This “Samsung New HMD” news has already been flung far and wide, so I don’t need to spend much time rehashing it this review. But … I will share the basics for those who still haven’t heard.
The new device by Samsung will have motion tracking, first of all. It also will NOT work with their mobile phone line, but be an all-inclusive device with superior parts forming an entirely new whole.
This is my conjecture, but I believe the screen resolution could be somewhere between 6 and 8K in this iteration. My evidence for this belief comes from Samsung’s own road map to 2019. By 2019, they earnestly plan to have 12K screens, and cite the clear possibility to reach that goal, having received 25 million in capital from investors for just this very purpose. If they could reach 12K by 2019, what’s to stop them from halving that goal by 2017-2018? I think 6K to 8K seems quite possible in this case! The new HMD VR device would need pretty powerful GPU and CPU to handle all those pixels, but those details are not yet forthcoming at this early point in the news. Yet … Samsung did lay out its general plan at the 2016 Developer Conference:
According to this Infographic (above), the idea is to have a device which has motion tracking, is fully mobile, and allows for a “Holodeck” experience where one can walk around in a Setting (and the real world) and truly feel like you’re there, mind and body!
Now the reasons I said in the first paragraph of this article that Facebook might have given their blessing to Samsung and allowed the hardware maker to take over making the GearVR hardware-side of their VR device are many-fold:
- Samsung makes hardware as its chief industry.
- Oculus (a derivative of Facebook) makes OS software with highly-polished internet-related optimizations.
- John Carmack works for Oculus with his ultra-elite skills focused on the software.
- Samsung can use all of its technology divisions in creating the HMD, making the most use of the hardware-developing company’s entire product line of chips, screens, and higher technologies all in one place. It will fuse the company into one massive forge of ultra-tech. This efficiency will increase their overall value, for sure.
- Google is their competition, and is already developing a stand-alone VR device that will partner with their Cardboard VR software division to release untold VR titles without as much restriction as Oculus has on their content. This means Google may begin to take over in the VR industry software and application wise unless Samsung can provide a better VR experience through the use of its new (up to 12K pixel) screen technology it is prepared to release by 2019. This would certainly win more users over!
- Oculus is possibly standing out of Samsung’s way in order to forward the speed of development, while taking over the OS, billing, and content creation side of things.
The war for control of VR, to claim the most users, is beginning to consolidate around Facebook and Google. Facebook has strategically partnered with Samsung for all of its hardware needs, leaving Google to fend for itself in a world with not many other top hardware manufacturers to compete with. Oculus will continue to provide Samsung its OS software, its VR content, and handle the inner mechanisms of the payment system. This, I strongly feel, needs to become more robust in the future, with Samsung Pay becoming active as soon as possible at the very least.
Now that Facebook (vise e vie Oculus) can focus on what it does best (software, especially with John Carmack spear-heading that aspect!) and not get bogged down in hardware development issues, I think it could be full-steam ahead (pun definitely not intended) at this point to see who comes out on top. And see what the future of VR will look like by 2020. This is a very interesting time to be alive, friends.