Augmented reality (AR) may or may not be the next big thing in tech, but Samsung is geared to take the magical leap for one of its upcoming headsets, dubbed simply as Samsung Gear VR 3.
But that’s not all it has planned. A company exec recently dug into the details of Samsung’s future head-mounted display (HMD) plans at the Virtual Reality Summit, part of which confirms that a Samsung Gear VR 2 is coming soon.
Though, like we saw with the headset refresh launched alongside the ill-fated Samsung Galaxy Note 7, don’t expect this one to reinvent the wheel. At best, it will keep the USB-C and microUSB adapter, as to maximize compatibility with previous Samsung phones, and be capable of transmitting data to open the door for a Google Daydream View-like controller and other accessories.
Gear VR 3, G3ar VR, GeAR VR 3?
A smoothing-out of the Samsung Gear VR is a move both welcomed and needed, especially if Samsung wants to punch up to the lush design of the Google Daydream headset and whatever else the hits store shelves.
But, the more revolutionary Samsung Gear VR 3 is said to move things forward in a big way, focusing in on one high-end feature in particular: augmented reality.
At the Summit, Dr. Sung-Hoon Hong of Samsung stated that his team is aiming to create an immersive engine that brings realistic virtual objects into the world, unlike apps like Pokemon Go that offer a more one-dimensional experience. Speaking on the in-development engine, Sung-Hoon stated that “Samsung’s hologram technology is really, really realistic. It looks really touchable.”
Sung-Hoon described an example that he hopes is ready to show at MWC 2017 in Barcelona, in which a user can purchase gifts through an augmented assistant without using any cellular data.
As neat as that sounds, it won’t be the first to arrive with AR support. Today’s tech landscape already hosts a fair mix of augmented reality contenders, with the Microsoft HoloLens, and Tango by way of the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro leading the charge.
Given Samsung’s pedigree in mobile VR, the Samsung Gear VR 3 will likely be an impressive showcase on the AR front, as well. But, according to Sung-Hoon, Samsung is still in the early brainstorming phase of development.
“If there are any good ideas to make AR glasses, we want to talk to you.” he said at the Summit, possibly indicating that its power partner, Oculus, won’t be play a role in creating the AR-capable Samsung HMD.
Whenever the headset does come out, the added dash of futuristic tech will surely be a win for Samsung Galaxy S8 owners and augmented reality enthusiasts in general, so long as it has the apps to back it.
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Cameron is a writer at The Verge, focused on reviews, deals coverage, and news. He wrote for magazines and websites such as The Verge, TechRadar, Practical Photoshop, Polygon, Eater and Al Bawaba.