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Samsung Pursuing Standalone VR Headsets, But Will Bide its Time as the Market Develops

Through its partnership with Oculus, Samsung has become one of the dominant forces in the virtual reality (VR) industry. The launch of Gear VR onto the consumer market in 2015 has turned out to be a success with a reported one million plus Galaxy smartphone users owning the device. Now the company has confirmed its interest in making a higher-end all-in-one head-mounted display (HMD), but as and when it would do this depends on how the market for VR develops in the future.

Samsung held an event this week in San Francisco, California, where Samsung President and Chief Strategy Officer Young Sohn revealed the company is pursuing smartphone-focused and standalone VR HMD solutions, reports TechCrunch.

Samsung Gear 360 - Gear VR

But the decision to ship a dedicated headset would depend on how consumer demand influences the growing VR market, and whether cheaper or more expensive device become the norm. “Is [virtual reality] hype or mainstream? I don’t have a good answer for you today,” said Sohn.

There are those that see mobile VR as the future of the technology, such as Epic Games’ Tim Sweeney. But its how that mobile tech moves forward is the issue. Does it stay within the confines of smartphones or move into the realms of an all-in-one product. For smartphones one of the biggest advancements needed to be made is screen resolution, currently they’re fine for everyday use but the limitations are more noticeable when put into a VR headset.

VR has been a driving force behind Samsung creating better displays but to build a 10K mobile screen would need investment in the region of “at least $5 billion to $10 billion,” commented Sohn.

The company will likely be keeping a close eye on the market over the next few months, as Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) releases PlayStation VR, and Google launches its Cardboard follow up Daydream. If these are a success then it could pave the way for Samsung.

VRFocus will continue to follow the latest VR news from Samsung, reporting back with any new announcements.