Samsung, Qualcomm, Google vs. Apple in XR headsets

Home > Business > Tech

print dictionary print

Samsung, Qualcomm, Google vs. Apple in XR headsets

Three executives from Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics and Google announce their partnership during Samsung's Unpacked event on Feb.1 in San Francisco. [LEE HEE-KWON]

Three executives from Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics and Google announce their partnership during Samsung's Unpacked event on Feb.1 in San Francisco. [LEE HEE-KWON]

 
Samsung Electronics will work with two major U.S. tech companies to develop digital headsets as Apple moves ahead quickly and is promising its own metaverse headset project.
 
On Feb. 1, Roh Tae-moon, head of mobile communication business at the electronics maker, mentioned a "partnership" with Alphabet's Google and Qualcomm for “extended reality” products — known as XR — which covers both augmented reality and virtual reality headsets.
 
Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon, and Google Senior Vice President Hiroshi Lockheimer joined him in making the announcement.
 
“It is intended to establish a sound ecosystem for extended reality as Qualcomm, a leader in chipsets, Samsung Electronics with its expertise in product hardware and Google, one of the best operating system operator, join hands,” Roh said.
 
Roh Tae-moon, head of mobile communication business at Samsung Electronics, far left, introduces the Galaxy S23 series to Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon, center, and Google Senior Vice President Hiroshi Lockheimer. [LEE HEE-KWON]

Roh Tae-moon, head of mobile communication business at Samsung Electronics, far left, introduces the Galaxy S23 series to Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon, center, and Google Senior Vice President Hiroshi Lockheimer. [LEE HEE-KWON]

 
“We will determine the details going forward,” he said.
 
“We are working to create a new era of highly immersive digital experiences that blur the line between our physical and digital worlds. With our Snapdragon XR tech, Samsung’s amazing products and Google experiences, we have the foundation to make this opportunity a reality,” Qualcomm’s Amon said onstage.
 
Their comments follow Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Han Jong-hee’s remarks that the company is working on the release of its own metaverse device.  
 
A movie made with the Galaxy S23 Ultra is presented during an Unpacked event. [LEE HEE-KWON]

A movie made with the Galaxy S23 Ultra is presented during an Unpacked event. [LEE HEE-KWON]

 
The three companies are cooperating as Apple is set to launch an XR device in the first half of the year, according to Kim Doo-hyun, an analyst at Hana Securities.  
 
Sony plans to release its new Play Station VR 2 on Feb. 22, while Meta’s Quest 3, jointly developed by Oculus, is on track to be introduced this year.  
 
Samsung’s potential entry will likely contribute to widening the accessibility, as it could leverage a large user base of the Galaxy phones and its appliances.  
 
The smartphone maker embarked on a similar project centered around Gear VR in a partnership with Oculus, but it discontinued the product range in 2019.  
 
“Samsung Electronics has a record of releasing mobile VR devices through a collaboration with Oculus,” Kim said, “But it suspended the sale of the headset due to lower-than-expected demand and became cautious about re-entering the market.”
 
The early versions of the Gear VR devices sold fairly well – 780,000 units in 2017 alone – driven by interest from tech early adopters, but it failed to enter the mainstream due to the bulky design and a relatively poor interface for switching back and forth between the headset and mobile phone.  
 
“No specific plans were announced, but we expect Samsung Electronics to manufacture the device, Qualcomm to supply chips and Google the operating system,” the analyst said, adding that Samsung Electronics could benefit from the XR market in general since the market create demand for advanced organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels manufactured by the company.  
 
Apple is taking a totally different approach as it will custom-manufacture processors and use its own operating system.  
 
When it comes to content provision, media outlets expected that Samsung Electronics will work with Microsoft, which owns Xbox.  
 
Last year, Executive Chairman Lee Jae-yong met with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in Seoul to explore cooperation in augmented and virtual reality, mobile communications and semiconductors.  
 
Details of their discussion were not disclosed.  
 
The current extended reality device market is dominated by the Meta-Oculus partnership, with the Meta Quest 2 taking up 78 percent of market share, according to Kim, the analyst. 

BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]
Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
s
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)