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Microsoft and Samsung could team up on new AR headset

Samsung and Microsoft might be teaming up on a new augmented reality headset, with a possible release coming in 2024, according to a new rumor.

Digital Trends can not verify the original report behind the rumor, but according to The Elec, Microsoft and Samsung have reportedly started working on this project that’s scheduled to last two years. Samsung apparently started its task force for the project in March and Microsoft in the summer. Multiple divisions of Samsung’s business are also involved in the product, including Samsung Display, Electro-Mechanics, and SDI.

HoloLens 2 on a man's head.

Released in 2019, the HoloLens 2 was Microsoft’s last big commercial and enterprise augmented reality headset. Unlike other headsets, it has all the computing power built right in, without the need for a smartphone or laptop. A follow-up is a bit overdue. Microsoft teaming up with Samsung on a new headset could make it more affordable and broaden its reach. This is especially important as Apple makes gains in the same space in its quest for a similar consumer-oriented headset.

It seems as though Samsung could be the hardware manufacturer for this headset, per rumors, as the company previously invested in DigiLens, which creates optics and technologies for AR displays. It’s not known if the headset will end up being a consumer product, but commercial could be a better option, according to The Elec. Alex Kipman, who invented the HoloLens, noted in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that HoloLens technology is not ready in terms of comfort, immersion, or value for consumers.

Currently, HoloLens is still enterprise only. It is in use in hospitals and frontline pandemic workers also use the headset. Microsoft even won a Pentagon contract to produce a military version of HoloLens for the U.S. Army. And earlier in 2021 Microsoft announced Mesh, a cross-technology platform for collaboration, communication, and more that works on HoloLens.

Microsoft and Samsung are no strangers when it comes to partnerships. When Microsoft launched Windows Mixed Reality consumer headsets, which blend the physical and digital worlds, but also depend on being tethered to a computer, Samsung was a key partner. Samsung launched both the HMD Odyssey and the MD Odyssey+. Both are still available for sale.

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