Samsung, Google, and Qualcomm are collaborating on an XR headset. Google’s I/O conference had details on the release date and operating system.
In February, Samsung announced a partnership with Google and Qualcomm to develop mixed reality hardware. At Google’s I/O keynote on May 10, Google manager Sameer Samat shared a few more details. We expect more information about the device, presumably a mixed-reality headset with VR and AR support, before the end of the year.
Year unveiling in 2023 is likely, which would confirm rumors from the South Korean magazine “Galaxy Club”. Samat also hinted at an Android-based operating system.
“Our partnership with Samsung on Wear OS has been great, and I’m looking forward to our new Android collaboration on Immersive XR,” Samat said at the conference. “We’ll be announcing more on that later this year.”
Google Software on an Android OS
As Google’s vice president of product management, Samat overseas Android and Google Play. WearOS is Google’s Android-based operating system for smartwatches and wearables, which Samsung has been using and developing for its models since 2021.
All three partners already have experience in the VR field. Google had the failed Daydream mobile adapter also based on Android. Samsung had the similarly designed and fated Gear VR smartphone headset.
Qualcomm hasn’t made a publicly available XR headset, though it does have reference designs with Niantic. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR2 chip powers the Meta Quest 2 and the Pico 4, among others. The company also presented a power-saving AR chip, the Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1.
Qualcomm will also contribute the chip for the new collaboration headset, while Google will take care of the software. According to the “Galaxy Club” rumors, however, it will probably not be a slim pair of AR glasses but rather a VR headset with AR transparency similar to the Quest Pro. If the headset uses a modern “XR2 Gen 2” processor, it could well outperform the older “XR2 Gen 1”.
The Galaxy news site already speculated that Samsung’s XR headset could still appear in 2023, possibly along with the next-generation Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Z Fold 5 smartphones. Samsung’s foldable phones usually hit the market in August or September. According to a report in the Korean magazine Chosun, the two models will be unveiled as early as July 26.
Whether Google is still working on the similar mixed reality headset Project Iris is unclear.
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