Samsung Electronics has been enlisted by Microsoft to manufacture a virtual reality device known as HMD Odyssey and which runs on Windows Mixed Reality software. The South Korean conglomerate joins other device manufacturers such as Lenovo Group Ltd, HP Inc, Dell Inc and Acer Inc in developing VR headsets that use the Windows platform. These devices use VR technology to occlude the users’ view of the natural world and instead immerse them in sights and sounds that are digitally generated.
As a Microsoft partner in virtual reality and augmented reality, Samsung will be competing against tech giants such as Facebook, Google and Apple. Through the Oculus technology of Facebook, Samsung has emerged as a VR leader with its Oculus Gear VR.
In an online posting that appeared on Microsoft’s blog, the general manager and vice president of Samsung Electronics America, Alana Cotton, said that the conglomerate will work across platforms without favoring one over the other.
HMD Odyssey possesses two controllers and instead of LCD displays features OLED displays. The virtual reality headset also has a microphone that is built in and headphones. It will be released on November 6 and has been available for pre-ordering since earlier in the week at a price of $499. Other Microsoft partners will also make their headsets available earlier in the week and their devices will become available starting October 17. The headsets are also available for pre-order at a price of $399.
Microsoft was among the first tech firms to enter the virtual reality and augmented reality space and the software giant is attempting to develop an ecosystem. Its first product was the HoloLens AR headset which was unveiled close to three years ago. HoloLens is yet to be made commercially available though. Windows Mixed Reality is a part of Windows 10 OS and its goal is become the platform of choice for bother AR and VR devices.
According to analysts the market for VR and AR devices is ripe for take-off. International Data Corporation, a market research firm, projects that sales of VR and AR headsets will reach 13.7 million units this year. By 2021 IDC estimates that approximately 81.2 million units of these devices will be shipped having grown at a CAGR of 56%.
The Redmond, Washington-based tech giant is also making efforts aimed at adding to its AR and VR ecosystem gaming content. On Tuesday this week Microsoft announced that developers will get access to technology which allows them to develop holographic games.