What you need to know
- Samsung has reportedly delayed its upcoming XR headset until sometime in mid-2024.
- The delay was reportedly caused by Samsung's desire to "better compete" with the Apple Vision Pro when it releases next year.
- The delayed headset could feature a refined design, better performance, and higher-resolution display panels than what was previously planned.
The Apple Vision Pro isn't expected to make its way into the hands of consumers until sometime in early 2024; now, it looks like Android fans will have to wait even longer to give Samsung's version a try. While it was planned to launch later this year, Samsung has reportedly delayed its XR headset until sometime close to mid-2024.
A report from SBS Biz states that Samsung sent memos to display panel partners saying to expect delays in the Samsung XR headset project which was originally announced in February 2023. According to the report, an internal memo reads, "we decided to review all internal specifications and performance, such as the design and panel of the new XR product." For note, XR is a term used to encompass AR and VR under one umbrella.
If the report is true, Samsung's XR headset is going to see a design change and potentially faster performance and higher-resolution displays to better compete with the $3,500 Apple Vision Pro. If that's true, then it's clear that Samsung is more interested in competing against Apple's "laptop for your face" form factor rather than challenging the upcoming Quest 3 for the crown of best VR gaming console.
We've reached out to Samsung for comment and will update this article if we receive one.
Regardless of the potential delay, Google is still making the operating system for Samsung's hardware. Google even reportedly canceled its AR glasses to work full time on the upcoming XR OS in order to ensure it's the "Android of XR," as one source called it.
As UploadVR rightly points out, all these moves seem to suggest that Samsung and Google are repeating history and changing plans after Apple unveiled their next big project. The last time we saw this happen, Android went from a Blackberry competitor to an iOS competitor back in 2007.
Given Samsung and Google's rocky past with AR and VR devices, it's probably a good thing that this headset was delayed to make it the best it can be. It's been reported that Apple can't make more than a few hundred thousand headsets in 2024, severely limiting the number of units they can sell to anyone willing to shell out $3,500 for one.
As stated before, it also seems clear that Samsung and Google want to focus on XR as a platform instead of trying to make a gaming headset to compete with Meta. While the upcoming Quest 3 will debut plenty of new mixed reality experiences that melt the AR and VR worlds together, Meta is still primarily promoting the Quest as a gaming console as it has seen significant success in this arena.
With the Quest 2 crossing over the 20-million-units-sold threshold earlier this year, there's plenty of room for expansion as interest in XR grows. Laptop "replacements" like the Apple Vision Pro likely won't be selling record numbers of units until prices come down and form factors get smaller. Still, Samsung and Google need to get serious about making a good product consumers want, and this upcoming Samsung headset could be The One.
The next generation of VR and XR headsets are on the way but none will be as affordable as the Meta Quest 2. If you're on a tight budget but want to get into VR, this is your best bet for a long time.
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