Samsung, Google and Qualcomm Team Up to Build a New Mixed-Reality Platform


Samsung is the latest technology giant to lean towards virtual and augmented reality. The smartphone maker says it will work with Google and Qualcomm on an upcoming mixed reality platform. The news was shared during Samsung’s Unpacked event on Wednesday and follows reports suggesting so Apple could release its first virtual reality headset this year. Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon and Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s SVP of Android, took the stage to co-announce the partnership.

Samsung has not mentioned whether any specific products are in development. It also gave no timeline for upcoming mixed reality products or services.

“It’s more of a declarative announcement about how we’re going to do well in building the XR ecosystem,” TM Roh, president of Samsung’s mobile division, said in an interview with CNET via translator ahead of the event.

“Google has been investing in both experiences and technology in AR and VR for a long time,” Lockheimer said on stage. “Delivering these next-generation experiences requires advanced, state-of-the-art hardware and software, which is why our partnership with Samsung and Qualcomm is so exciting.”

Mixed reality is a general term used to describe technology that combines the features of augmented and virtual reality. Augmented reality combines software with the real world by superimposing images on the user’s environment, similar to Google Glass. Virtual reality encompasses the wearer compared to a 360 degree virtual world such as the Meta quest 2.

However, a new wave of VR headsets are advancing mixed reality through pass-through cameras, a technique that allows VR and AR technologies to be combined into a single product line. Meta’s Quest 2 and Find Pro headsets can do this, as can the forthcoming ones Live XR Elite. Apples expected headphones should contain the same concept.

The announcement comes at a time of increased interest in virtual, augmented and mixed reality. Apple is expected to release a mixed reality headset in 2023 that could cost $3,000 according to Bloomberg. Sony’s PlayStation VR 2 and HTC’s Vive XR Elite are both slated to launch this month, and Google teased new AR glasses at Google I/O last year focused on language translation. Metas Quest 3 comes towards the end of the year.

Samsung has been relatively quiet on virtual reality, aside from its Gear VR headset, which it launched multiple iterations from between 2015 and 2017. That device is a head-mounted holster for smartphone VR experiences. Roh says there’s more consumer demand for augmented and virtual reality, which is why the company chose to discuss its plans this time. He says the company has been researching the category for some time.

“And now we believe we’ve reached a certain threshold,” he said.

The collaboration makes sense since Samsung, Google and Qualcomm already work together to develop smartphones. Samsung builds the hardware of its Galaxy phones while Qualcomm supplies the processor and Google runs the software’s underlying Android operating system.

Roh said Google and Qualcomm will play a similar role in the development of this upcoming XR platform, though they will likely overlap in certain areas. For example, while Qualcomm would provide the processor, Samsung could make some optimisations, just as it has done for the chip in the Galaxy S23 range.

“Each player takes the lead in each category, and then we will work very closely in the different categories,” said Roh.

CNET reached out to Qualcomm for comment on the partnership and received the following prepared statement: “Building on our existing partnership with Samsung and Google, we have meaningful plans to jointly advance XR experiences. With our Snapdragon XR innovations – together with Samsung’s great products and Google’s technology — we have the foundation to realize these opportunities and drive the future of the spatial internet.”

Qualcomm has been the chip supplier for nearly every major VR and AR headset for years, and has launched a wave of phone-compatible VR and AR headsets the coming years. Qualcomm is also cooperating with Microsoft on its future AR glasses hardware, and with Meta on it future devices. It’s unclear if this new partnership will be compatible with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Spaces platform for headsets and telephones.

When asked for comment, Google’s Kaori Miyake added, “We’re excited to work with our partners to build a new generation of immersive computing experiences that will further enhance users’ capabilities with Google.”

A collaboration similar to Wear OS?

Two years ago, Samsung and Google announced a collaboration on a next-gen wave of Wear OS watches, resulting in the Galaxy Watch 4 and preceded Google Pixel watch. Although this partnership between Qualcomm, Google and Samsung is completely different, the spirit of the partnership can be very much the same.

On Wear OS, Samsung served as a hardware partner to help enhance the core features of Google’s next-gen watch platform, while Google focused on software crossovers to Android and added Fitbit features. To make a successful next-generation mixed reality hardware platform, it will likely require compatibility with existing apps and even phones to ensure that the final device doesn’t feel left behind on an app island like the hardware of Meta often does.

Since Apple’s headset will likely weave VR and AR compatibility into existing Mac and iOS products, Samsung’s Google/Qualcomm partnership could do the same for Google and Samsung’s mobile hardware.

If this is the kind of collaboration that this mixed reality partnership suggests, then Google’s steps in this area remain the next big question mark.

Samsung announced its mixed reality ambitions at the same time new galaxy book and Galaxy S23 smartphone lineup. The new series, inclusive a standard, Plus and Ultra versionoffers a collection of upgrades and is now available for pre-order.

Now playing:
Look at this:

Super Small Vive XR Elite doesn’t quite work for my eyes


The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share post:


More like this