MWC 2017 - Samsung has announced the next generation of their VR headset powered by Oculus.
The new Gear VR comes with a Controller (yes, capital "C"), similar to the one that is used in Google's Daydream. The company stated that the Gear VR with Controller expands Samsung's virtual reality ecosystem and makes it easier for consumers to enjoy Gear VR experiences.
The Controller has a touchpad and a number of buttons (trigger, home key, back key, volume key) allowing the user to "point, drag and drop, tilt, shoot, among other actions, while the Trigger allows for enhanced gaming experiences."
Valve's Doug Lombardi today announced that LG has partnered with the Vive-maker to craft a next-gen virtual reality headset.
LG is aiming to make quite a splash with its first-ever VR HMD. The VR HMD is "designed to deliver high fidelity, next generation VR experience," and a prototype will be showcased and demoed at GDC 2017. LG has partnered with Valve and the new headset will leverage the company's established Steam VR platform.
Technically this isn't the first VR device LG has made: the company rolled out the LG VR 360, a mobile-powered entry-level virtual reality headset, but this new prototype will be a dedicated head-mounted display versus a slot-in style device.
"During the show, LG will be meeting with developers to collect feedback and impressions as part of its effort to define the first commercial units. Pricing, launch dates, and territories will be announced at a later date," Lombardi revealed.
The court battle between ZeniMax and Oculus saw Oculus handing over a swift $500 million when the jury found Oculus had violated a NDA, and illegally used code from ZeniMax.
Well, this could just be the start of a legal battle that is much bigger - as ZeniMax has asked the court to block Oculus from using the stolen code. If this happens, it could stop the sales of a massive chunk of games that use the technology. Oculus is of course appealing the case, saying that the prior ruling was "legally flawed and factually unwarranted".
If the judge grants the injunction, Oculus would be forced to write new code for their SDK - replacing the stolen code it is still using from ZeniMax. This would have large effects across the market, as it would hurt the Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR products, both of which use the ZeniMax source code.
Qualcomm announced its Snapdragon 835 VRDK program alongside the news that it had teamed with Leap Motion, a company that has been on the edge of hand tracking technology.
The partnership between Qualcomm and Leap Motion is an interesting one, that could reshape the control methods used in VR: as the companies are demonstrating Qualcomm's own positional tracking technology, with Leap Motion's hand tracking tech. This partnership could lead to "natural human computer interaction" for standalone Snapdragon 835-powered VR headsets, and as Qualcomm puts it: "sets a new standard for mobile VR content development".
Tim Leland, VP of Product Management with Qualcomm, said: "As we deliver the new Snapdragon mobile platform for greater immersion with untethered virtual reality HMDs, natural user interfaces like hand movements will help consumers more intuitively interact with VR content, therefore we're delighted to be working closely with a VR technology leader like Leap Motion. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 was designed to combine six degrees of positional tracking, high VR frame rates, immersive audio and enhanced 3D graphics with real-time rendering in a compact, stand-alone headset for the ultimate VR experience".
Samsung will be unveiling something different at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain next week - from their in-house tech incubator C-Lab.
We should expect four devices shown off with Relúmĭno, Monitorless, VuildUs, and traVRer. These four different technologies are all intriguing, a nice direction for Samsung to see what could stick around in a few years.
Relúmĭno - A 'Smart Visual Aid'
Samsung's strangely named Relúmĭno is a "smart visual aid" for the Gear VR that will benefit the visually impaired so that they could read and watch TV with "new levels of clarity".
This is what excites me the most, is Samsung's tease of Monitorless - a pair of "sunglasses" that are capable of VR and VR tech. They would connect to your smartphone or PC, letting you use your products in AR or VR - impressive.
According to a well-known leaker Roland Quandt, Samsung's next Gear VR headset could come with a controller, similar to the one that is used in Google's Daydream.
It is possible that Samsung will unveil the new Gear VR next month because it is apparently designed to work with the Galaxy S8 and S8+.
The design of the headset looks similar to the one of the current-generation Gear VR, but it does come with certain adjustments and improvements.
Microsoft first kicked off its intruiging HoloLens product two years ago now, as Windows 10 was being pushed onto PCs, and while developers are using the first-gen HoloLens it looks like Microsoft might be skipping HoloLens 2 in favor of the third generation headset.
The news is coming from Microsoft insider Paul Thurrott, who sources said that Microsoft is skipping the second-gen HoloLens headset for the "third generation" that Microsoft had been planning at the same time. It looks like Microsoft might have been priming a true leap in AR headsets in the background, and is now ready to compete with Apple's purported mixed reality (MR) headset that will arrive with the new iPhone 8 and iPhone X smartphones in June.
A company spokesperson said: "Mixed reality is the future of computing, and Microsoft HoloLens is the future and present of mixed reality. Our commitment requires no roadmap". This new HoloLens 3 headset would reportedly arrive in 2019.
IMAX has been a company that has dominated high-end cinema (and beyond) experiences, but now the cinema giant is moving into the VR realm by opening up a VR experience center in LA.
The new LA center has a blend of HTC Vive and Starbreeze StarVR headsets inside of 14 isolated "pods" that feature a Dbox cinema chair, a vibration-emitting Subpac vest (oh, YES) and a bunch of physical controllers. John Wick Chronicles is one of the VR experiences IMAX has on offer, too.
IMAX has more VR experiences and immersive games, including Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine, Eagle Flight, and The Walk. IMAX ia already investing into future VR experiences, raising $50 million for the the development and construction of more VR centers planned for New York, California, China, and the UK.
HTC was a household name in smartphones years ago, and while that has been watered down over the years, it became the undeniable force in high-quality room scale VR headsets - and now, the company is teasing a standalone VR headset that isn't the Vive 2.0.
In a recent interview with CNET, HTC CFO Chia-lin Chang said that the Taiwanese mobile giant will be releasing a new mobile VR headset this year that is "not a phone slapped onto a headset" like we see with Samsung's GearVR, or Google's Daydream View headsets.
Chang teased that HTC's upcoming mobile VR headset would be similar to the high-end Vive headset - and that has me intrigued.
As it stands, Oculus only has its newly released Oculus Touch controllers for the Rift available - but there are far better wars of getting input into the world of VR - and one of those ways, would be from the use of gloves.
Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg has been playing with prototype gloves for the Rift, as he talked about visiting the Oculus Research lab in Redmond, Washington - where he had some hands-on time with the new prototype VR gloves.
The Oculus Research team is led by Michael Abrash, with Zuckerberg saying that the team focuses on "things like advanced optics, eye tracking, mixed reality and new ways to map the human body. The goal is to make VR and AR what we all want it to be: glasses small enough to take anywhere, software that lets you experience anything, and technology that lets you interact with the virtual world just like you do with the physical one".