There doesn’t seem to be a tech category left that Samsung isn’t exploring. A new report today claims that not even the nascent virtual reality industry is safe, as Samsung has teamed up with Oculus to create a new headset powered by your mobile phone.
The news comes by way of a report published today on Engadget, which describes the partnership as having created a headset that is a “shockingly good experience.” Apparently Samsung is supplying Oculus with hi-res OLED screens that provide resolution even better than 1080p. In return, Samsung enjoys the right to use the Oculus proprietary mobile software development kit in a headset of its own making.
Instead of a standalone headset with its own built in screen, though, the report claims that Samsung’s device relies on the user’s mobile phone as a display. Somehow, users will be able to slide their phones into the headset and the two devices will connect via microUSB.
There are serious questions as to how feasible a device like this may be. But all smartphones are equipped with an Inertial Measurement Unit, or IMU, which includes gyroscopes and accelerometers to orient the phone’s position in real space. As such, using a powerful smartphone like the Galaxy S5, for instance, could be a relatively easy way to track a user’s movement, and thus reduce or eliminate latency on a VR headset display.
Even still, a device like this sounds less like a real consumer product, and more like a prototype being cooked up to give Samsung’s developers different ideas for the future. It seems difficult to believe that the company would actually consider releasing a virtual reality headset that relies on a mobile phone for a display. Then again, with Facebook investing $2 billion in Oculus and the promise of virtual reality in general, Samsung may simply be looking to find the fastest route to jump into this product category. We’ve already seen how eager the company is to dominate the world of smartwatches. Why should it treat virtual reality any differently?