Executives from Qualcomm, Samsung, and Google recently announced a partnership to develop an XR headset at the Unpacked event in February 2023. However, new reports from Upload VR and The JoonAng indicate that the XR alliance has experienced setbacks and delays in their project. Samsung has reportedly commissioned higher resolution screens from Samsung Display for its XR headset in order to match the surprising 4K-in-each-eye (8K) displays unveiled by Apple in the Vision Pro. This has led to a delay in the announcement of the Samsung headset from early 2024 to mid-2024, with the launch being pushed to the end of the year. The production target for the Samsung headset is expected to be a modest 30,000 units for 2024.
In addition to the production delays, there are reports that Samsung, Google, and Qualcomm have decided to go back to the drawing board after Apple’s release of the Vision Pro with high-end specs. The trio is rebooting their plans, with Samsung working on the hardware for the joint venture XR headset, Google developing a mixed reality version of Android, and Qualcomm supplying the underlying chip technology. The reported leaked prototype of the headset, designed in the mold of the early Oculus Quest and HTC Vive headsets, suggests that the trio is making positive moves in rebooting their plans, possibly leading to a much more compelling hardware product by mid-2024.
The reset and delays in the XR alliance’s project bring to mind the birth of Android, when Google swiftly changed its smartphone platform design to be more iPhone-like after seeing Apple’s iPhone announcement. With Samsung becoming Android’s leading proponent and top-selling hardware maker, it will be interesting to see how the rebooted plans for the XR headset will unfold and potentially reshape the mixed reality industry.