Samsung is working with Oculus VR to release Virtual Reality products. Oculus VR is a virtual reality startup company owned by Facebook and the company has kick started the current wave of VR products.
Samsung is handling the hardware side of the product, while Oculus handles the software. It’s a swap deal, Samsung would give Oculus early access to its next generation OLED screens while Oculus would give Samsung early access to its mobile software development kit and helps user interface software development. Oculus continues to make products of its own such as gaming focused PC based virtual reality headset and it’s in need of Samsung’s next generation OLED screens for the product development. Now, let’s see more on the unlikely partnership between Samsung and Oculus.
Though Samsung wants to be the first company in the market to release a virtual reality headset, it’s not ready to invest so much of time and money that Oculus and Sony are. Aside, Oculus wants to make a gaming focused high quality virtual reality headset, but it doesn’t want to rush without required high quality next generation hardware. Thus, these two companies partner with each other to meet their immediate business needs. Oculus makes the software for Samsung’s upcoming virtual reality headset and Samsung makes OLED screens for Oculus’ final product.
The partnership has both risk and benefits. Samsung is a consumer electronics giant and the company investing in marketing and producing its own virtual reality headset hugely grows the medium. If it’s not a good product then it can possibly poison the medium and the product could turn in to another Virtual Boy. It might make consumers even more apprehensive about virtual reality as a medium.
Sources told that Samsung is using an early form of Oculus’ mobile SDK; it’s an exclusive use as part of the deal between the companies. As part of the deal Oculus is getting OLED screens that are of higher resolution than 1080p, the screens will be used in a few of Samsung’s next phones.
Samsung’s VR headset uses your phone directly instead of having its own screen. VR headset plugs in to your phone using an existing port most probably via micro-USB and becomes the screen. The headset comes with a built-in sensors and an accelerometer, so any motion tracking functionality wouldn’t consume phone’s processor.
There are few folks who have dev kits are still running the VR headset on Galaxy s4 phones and they say the experience is too good. Said that, the device would run either a Galaxy S5 or potentially its successor and of course it will be tweaked for optimal VR headset performance. The VR headset can be used as a standalone media device or with a paired game controller.
You can see through the phone using the rear camera, which shows a video feed of the outside world to your eyes. It’s a smart addition for more realistic long-term use.
The unit got some buttons including standard Android buttons such as Home, Back and Recent Apps. Visibility to the details of other buttons is too minimal at this stage however it’s been told that none of the buttons are used for interactivity. But, there are chances for changes to these specifications to chance when the final product is made available to consumers.
The dev kit got a basic UI (User Interface); it’s an empty 3D space with various demos. You interact with floating objects by nodding at them. Nodding at an object selects it basically. The interactivity method may be far different in the final product comparing to the dev kit. It’s told that the final software would contain voice, touch and more forms of interaction.
Now, UI and OS are in a very early stage. Oculus’ mobile SDK is in very early stage, the software it’s able to build isn’t close to a finished product. There was some information shared about two different demos, neither of which involved interactivity. First demo, you are at the beach with jamming hippies and the in the second one, you dive from a plane. The sources said that they were impressed with the device.
Samsung may advertize this device as a media player as well. There are very few media experiences for virtual reality headsets. It’s said that gaming experiences are pared down and there are no guarantee Samsung will ship VR headset with a game pad. The company is focusing on larger market instead of just the early adopter who’ll take a chance on VR headset. Samsung and Oculus are taking a risk in partnering on this virtual reality headset and it has attracted a lot of attentions, let’s wait and see how this partnership and product evolves.