According to new reports from Upload VR and Korean newspaper The JoonAng, the XR alliance formed by Samsung, Google and Qualcomm to build a mixed reality headset has hit the reset button on its project and delayed the launch.
The JoonAng reports that Samsung has now ordered higher resolution displays from Samsung Display for its XR headset to match the surprising 4K in each eye (8K) displays – made by Sony – that Apple unveiled in the Vision Pro. This helped delay Samsung’s headset announcement from early 2024 to mid-2024 and push the headset launch back to the end of the year.
Separately, Upload VR reported that Samsung also informed developers that its new headset will now launch in late 2024.
JoonAng’s sources also claim that the production target for the Samsung headset will be 30,000 units for 2024. For comparison, Apple’s production targets have also reportedly been reduced from 1 million to 400,000 units for the Vision Pro for 2024. the Samsung headset is expected to cost around $2,000, compared to $3,500 for the Apple Vision Pro and $500 for the Meta Quest 3 which just launched in October.
Also: I tried Apple Vision Pro and it is way ahead of what I expected
This information joins several reports emerging since this summer that Samsung, Google and Qualcomm have decided to go back to the drawing board after Apple announced the Vision Pro at WWDC in June with high-end specs that surprised the industry. However, even at the Unpacked event in July, Samsung said its headset announcement was “not too far away.”
Samsung is designing the hardware for the XR headset as a joint venture, while Google is developing a mixed reality version of Android and Qualcomm is providing the underlying chip technology – most likely the Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 platform, which powers the Meta headset Quest 3.
Also: Meta’s $500 Quest 3 is the consumer VR headset I’ve been waiting for, and it delivers
This type of reset is reminiscent of the birth of Android, when Google was designing its smartphone platform to be a BlackBerry-like system until it saw the announcement of Apple’s iPhone, and then started again. Instead, it transformed Android into a much more iPhone-like multitouch interface, and Samsung quickly became Android’s main promoter and best-selling hardware maker.
If this leaked prototype of the headset – clearly designed in the mold of the early Oculus Quest and HTC Vive headsets – was real, then it’s a positive move for the trio to reboot their plans. I expect Samsung to build a much more compelling hardware product by the time we finally get a glimpse of its next-gen headset in mid-2024 – perhaps at the summer Unpacked event where it unveils usually its latest foldable phones.