Samsung seems past the Galaxy S23 to make “prolonged actuality” units



SAN FRANCISCO — For essentially the most half, Samsung Electronics is staging its Unpacked product launch occasion in Northern California to disclose a trio of recent Galaxy S23 smartphones, plus a handful of laptops. However that’s not all.

Past updating a few of its core product strains, the corporate additionally unveiled plans to develop new “prolonged actuality” merchandise and experiences with assist from key companions together with Google and Qualcomm.

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Prolonged actuality, or XR, is a blanket time period to explain a handful of associated applied sciences that embrace digital actuality, augmented actuality and combined actuality. And since these applied sciences mirror alternative ways of bodily your software program, providers and the world round you, Samsung’s announcement all however confirms the corporate is growing a brand new wearable show or headset.

“Many alternative firms … have been making these bulletins about totally different realities,” TM Roh, the president and head of Samsung’s cellular expertise enterprise, advised The Washington Put up in an interview. “So we’ve additionally been making related preparations, a minimum of any others.”

Roh wouldn’t elaborate on the specifics of Samsung’s first new XR product, which won’t seem at Wednesday’s launch occasion. “We’re getting there, however we’re not too far-off,” he mentioned.

“For the chipset, it’s going to be a strategic collaboration with Qualcomm. The {hardware} shall be us,” Roh mentioned. And the software program, he added, shall be supplied by Google.

“For the ecosystem, we have been making an attempt to find out which platform to work with,” Roh mentioned. “And ultimately, we determined that it was going to be Google,” he added, referring to a brand new, beforehand unannounced model of the Android working system meant particularly to energy units reminiscent of wearable shows.

Google and Qualcomm individually confirmed the partnership on XR.

“We’re excited to work with our companions to construct a brand new era of immersive computing experiences that can additional elevate what customers can do with Google,” mentioned Google spokeswoman Kaori Miyake.

Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon mentioned on the launch occasion that with the shared experience from its companions, “we’ve the muse to make these alternatives a actuality and drive the way forward for the spatial web.”

Roh additionally mentioned Samsung’s enterprise into prolonged actuality would contain service partnerships with Meta and Microsoft, though he declined to elaborate on specifics.

Creating causes to make use of — and proceed utilizing — these sorts of prolonged actuality units is arguably extra vital than phrase of a brand new gadget, which is why Samsung performed up its partnerships as a substitute of a concrete product announcement at its launch occasion.

“We consider that the ecosystem needs to be considerably prepared for the product to be launched and for the product to achieve success as nicely,” Roh mentioned. “And as , there have been many makes an attempt by different firms to date, however not as profitable as had been hoped as a result of maybe the ecosystem was not as prepared because it ought to have been.”

That Samsung is engaged on a head-worn computing gadget shouldn’t be a shock — it has lots of historical past there. In 2015, it provided individuals an reasonably priced first style of digital actuality with the Gear VR headset, into which customers inserted their smartphones. (The corporate periodically up to date the headset’s design till it stopped growing new ones just a few years later.) Then, in 2017, it debuted the Odyssey — a headset meant to be used with Home windows PCs — and launched a revised mannequin the next yr.

After that, Samsung backed away from constructing such merchandise whereas firms together with Fb proprietor Meta made immersive computing units the cornerstone of their company methods. Since then, nevertheless, layoffs have lately compelled Meta and different firms, together with Microsoft, to reduce their extended-reality groups, within the course of casting some doubt on their visions of the metaverse.

In the meantime, Apple is broadly anticipated to disclose its first XR gadget as early as this spring. That product — a reportedly dear combined actuality headset — is claimed to trace hand and physique motion, in addition to provide immersive visuals that may fade right into a view of the actual world, in keeping with Bloomberg Information. Apple didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Though a lot of the extended-reality hype has been centered on Meta and Apple, a tie-up of three firms with collective experience in screens, software program and chip design might assist this new endeavor discover its footing in a soon-to-be crowded market. And that might imply extra choices for customers because the units we use to be productive and keep linked change in form and scope.

However this primary peek into Samsung’s subsequent frontier comes at a important time for the corporate. Smartphone shipments shrank by 12 p.c globally in 2022, in keeping with the analysis agency Canalys, and depressed demand for shopper devices lately led to Samsung’s lowest quarterly revenue in years.

Roh conceded that market demand for smartphones may stay weak by the primary half of this yr as customers stay cautious about purchases.

Whilst Samsung gears up for what could also be its subsequent undertaking, Roh mentioned he doesn’t have a look at this work as an existential danger for the remainder of Samsung’s cellular enterprise. Regardless of shrinking demand, he mentioned, he believes extra cautious customers will proceed to put money into “premium” merchandise for the added advantages they supply.

Within the case of this yr’s new Galaxy S23 smartphones, that features improved processor efficiency and a continued deal with cameras. The $1,199.99 Galaxy S23 Extremely, for instance, features a new 200-megapixel sensor the corporate says will produce higher nighttime images.

“[Smartphones] will proceed to construct on the options and the wants of customers and can present much more new experiences,” Roh mentioned. And amongst these experiences, he mentioned, are extra immersive ones that might change the way in which we view and work together with our telephones.

In the case of augmented actuality and combined actuality, “in fact there are units for that as nicely,” Roh mentioned. “However maybe they are often joined with the smartphone and develop farther from there.”


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