Last week, we learned that Samsung is reportedly working on a VR headset to call its own. Unfortunately, all we knew at the time was it would try to undercut the Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus in price and release date. However, thanks to Engadget’s unnamed sources, we’ve learned that Samsung is working with Oculus VR to make that headset.
Reportedly, the partnership stems from Samsung’s unwillingness to throw time and money into the development of a virtual reality headset, and Oculus VR’s unwillingness to rush out its own VR headset. Per the terms of the alleged partnership, Samsung would provide Oculus VR early access to its next-gen OLED screens, while Oculus VR would provide Samsung with early access to its mobile software development kit, as well as help develop the user interface software.
While it might seem strange for Samsung to partner with a competitor, the company’s VR headset will reportedly have a strong media focus, letting Oculus continue to develop its gaming-focused, PC-based VR headset we all know about. While there are VR games currently in the works for Samsung’s VR headset, the South Korean company intends it to target the general audience.
In order to further differentiate itself from the competition, Samsung’s VR headset will use your phone as the screen by plugging in using an existing port. While such an approach is sure to be a less technically competent way to gain entry into the world of virtual reality, it allows for the rear camera to be used as a way to view the outside world. In addition, the VR headset is reported to have multiple built-in sensors, with motion tracking functionality handled by the phone.
Software-wise, things seem to be at an early stage. Engadget’s sources indicated that, in terms of interactivity, voice, touch (by tapping on the headset, which fires up the accelerometer and allows for a “click”), and using a gamepad are features being considered. The user interface and operating system used are far from a finished product, though demos shown to the site’s sources were apparently pretty “nerve-wracking.”
We reached out to Oculus VR, but the company declined to comment.