Samsung to Debut MR Headset in 2024?

Samsung insider says a new headset will debut at Unpack 2024

Samsung to Debut MR Headset in 2024?
Mixed RealityLatest News

Published: November 9, 2023


Rory Greener

This week reports from a Korean online publication highlighted how Samsung may release an MR headset in 2024, following a year of rumours, leaks, and partnerships as the leading technology firm works with XR industry giants such as Apple, Google, and Qualcomm to become a fresh horse in the immersive space race.

Samsung’s history of headset development is long. From Gear VR to recent rumours, Samsung has experimented with XR for consumers and enterprises for years; however, the firm never reached the levels of Meta Quest and other top companies.

With its latest headset, will Samsung return to the enterprise XR space?

Samsung to Reveal New MR Headset at Unpack 2024

The recent reports highlight Samsung’s continued relationship with Google and Qualcomm to develop a headset codenamed “Infinite.”

According to reports, Samsung’s Electronics Mobile Experience (MX) Division confirmed the production of the Inifinate device, forecasting a December 2024 debut. Moreover, the firm expects initial production quantities to sit at 30,000 units; on the other hand, Apple’s product assembly is set to 400,000 units – a reduced number compared to its initial expectations.

Samsung plans to unveil the device at its Unpack mid-next year, ahead of the planned launch, according to an insider speaking to JoonAng.

The insider also added:

The business is taking shape, with Samsung Electronics and Samsung Display signing an XR screen technology license agreement. (Samsung Electronics) plans to introduce XR devices at the Unpack (new product release) event in the second half of next year.

Samsung Leak Reveals Major Headset Details

Earlier this year, in August, Samsung leaked major design specifications of its MR headset. While unnamed at the time, the August leaks may provide insight into the recently confirmed Infinite MR headset.

According to the now-deleted article from Gyro Technology, the upcoming headset will leverage four tracking cameras, a pancake lens, two RGB outward-facing cameras, a depth sensor, eye-tracking, hand-tracking, OLED microdisplays, and SamsuSamsung’sos 2200 chipset.

The details also reveal that the upcoming headset will support MR applications with its integrated outward-facing cameras, tracking, and sensor devices – demonstrating how the August leaks also reveal an MR headset similar to this week’s.

According to the leaks, Samsung’s device will cost roughly between $1000-$2000, putting the device as a similarly priced, but slightly more affordable, competitor of Apple’s Vision Pro.

What’s happening with the Samsung XR Headset?

Will XR fix Samsung’s forecasts? Samsung’s XR developments come as mobile phone vendors are balancing with the future.  

Some firms and thought leaders believe that eventually, smart glasses adoption will overtake smartphones, making computing move from a user’s hands to their eyes.  

In its most recent Q3 earnings call, Samsung noted that it aims to provide its customers with “hyper-personalized experiences” by leveraging generative AI technologies and secure “core” technology such as XR, digital health, and digital wallet. 

Moreover, during its Q3 earnings call, Samsung revealed its operating profit dropped to 77.6 per cent, operating profit increased to 262.6 per cent, and revenue sat at 67.4 trillion Korean won. 

However, Samsung seemingly first chose to move head-first into XR following a rocky Q2 earnings call earlier this year.  

After Q2, Samsung made it clear that it was choosing XR as a saviour to ensure the company’s forward progression and profitability. 

At the time, Samsung revealed that its Q2 net profits fell by 84.5 per cent from last year to $1.4 billion. Moreover, its total revenue fell by 22 per cent to $47 billion. 

Meanwhile, Samsung’s operating income dropped to $527 million, a decrease of 95 per cent. According to the report, part of Samsung’s decreased profit is partly due to a decline in the number of smartphones the firm is shipping. 

Despite its Q2 losses – or perhaps due to those losses – Samsung unveiled plans to drive forward with an XR product that fits into its ready for its Galaxy smartphone ecosystem, leading to this week’s product update. 

Samsung is looking to dive deep into XR because the firm also plans to become a microdisplay components provider for other headset vendors by the end of the year, getting industry-wide company coverage.

Will XR save Samsung from a potential downslide? In a busy emerging marketplace, Samsung will have to excel in order to stand out. 

Smasung Officials Speak on XR 

Samsung is ramping up its efforts to enter the XR device space. According to Daniel Araujo, VP of Mobile eXperience at Samsung, immersive content is beyond virtual gaming, highlighting how XR has a home in the enterprise. The VP expects XR to “become a mainstream technology.” 

Araujo added: 

We see the XR market as a large new growth opportunity, and we’re working systematically to the groundwork for an ecosystem that includes core hardware software technology R&D and content. 

Despite rocky capital performances, the firm seems confident that its current growth plans and dedication to developing XR products will support the firm in the future, boosting Samsung’s financials and presence as a digital workplace solutions provider.  

Moreover, according to its Q2 earnings call, Samsung is “productivity investing” into creating an “innovative” immersive product with a user experience that separates the conceptual device from others on the market. 

Additionally, Samsung noted in its Q2 report that the upcoming XR device would be unique to the Galaxy ecosystem of mobile computing devices – suggesting functionalities between Samsung devices. 

To support its upcoming device, Samsung launched a division to assist with securing a Galaxy XR device, Araujo noted: 

We set up a dedicated organization for immersive product planning and R&D, and we’re also collaborating closely with affiliate companies and other partners. In particular, this includes a mid-to-long-term collaboration with leading partners like Google and Qualcomm. 

The VP explained how Samsug’s headset will take on competing devices with Galaxy-based offerings that “provide a new and differentiated form factor experience where consumers can spend more time communicating, working or enjoying their leisure time.” 

Araujo explained that the firm is working on fully developing its product and accompanying ecosystem, only releasing the headset once it suitably fulfils customer expectations. 

Samsung to Supply XR Components  

In addition to Samsung entering an XR product into the Galaxy ecosystem, the firm is cementing its stance as a components manufacturer for immersive device vendors. 

The firm recognises the importance of the XR component market, a potentially fruitful capital venue to support the firm as it reinvests in XR.  

Already, Samsung is one of Apple’s assembly partners, providing the upcoming Vision Pro device with some of its microdisplay technology. 

Alongside its Apple partnership, Samsung acquired US microdisplay company Imagine last May. Following its 290 billion Won purchase, Samsung is currently undergoing a follow-up process, which sees the firm waiting for merger approvals from various country authorities. 

At the time, Samsung said it would start seeing a return from its Imagine acquisition this past October when acquisition deals closed; leading into 2024, the outcomes of these plans will be seen. 

According to Ben Suh, the SVP of IR at Samsung, a “key purpose” of the Imagine acquisition is to enhance “technology preparedness” for its dive into the XR marketplace. 

During the earnings call, Suh explained that Imagine, a firm which has developed microdisplays since 2001, owns various “basic and core technology patents” as well as related processing technologies that are “necessary for manufacturing ultra-high-resolution OLED on silicon or OLED” displays. 

Suh also described microdisplay parts as the number 1 “key components in an XR device,” meaning that Samsung sees immense value in the market and longstanding firm Imagine should help the firm leverage this investment opportunity. 

Suh added: 

We organized the development team since last year to look into the development of various microdisplay technology, such as OLEDOS or LEDOS. – We think that the Imagine acquisition will help enhance our XR business competitiveness and provide microdisplay solutions, innovative solutions to a wider range of customers. 

Moreover, in the future, Samsung plans to continue its research and outreach to find the “various technologies that were necessary to secure our leadership in future [XR] technology.” 

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