Samsung Is Putting Many Eggs Into The Virtual Reality Basket
During the annual developer conference held by Samsung, virtual reality technology was the center of the show. All attention was geared towards this new technology and very little towards the rest. The keynote address was filled with futuristic videos that displayed and demonstrated the various virtual reality products including the Gear VR headset and the new Gear 360 VR camera with which users can now take their own 360-degree videos.
The company also talked up its MilkVR service which was designed to aid users in discovering compelling content. In addition to this, Samsung also announced a number of developer related enhancements to its virtual reality technology amongst which was the feature that allows coders add the equivalent of hyperlinks to their 360 videos that connect viewers to other clips.
The Goodies Samsung Has in Store
The company also put together a “4D VR rollercoaster” and “Mayan Temple” VR puzzle game that makes use of physical objects, environmental effects and virtual interactions. The conference also offered more VR-related workshop sessions for coders, internet of things and gaming in particular.
“Samsung is a leader in the VR industry,” said Injong Rhee, executive vice president and head of R&D, software and services, for Samsung’s mobile communications business. “VR is amazing, but the industry is still in its infancy.”
Back in 2014, Samsung released its very first VR headset which was a developer version of Gear VR. A year later they launched the consumer version of the headset and thanks to the upcoming release of the Gear 360 camera, “2016 is shaping up to be the year of VR,” according to Andrew Dickerson, Samsung’s director of software engineering, who also spoke during the SDC keynote.
It is quite evident that Samsung has entered into the VR market with both feet and they are all in on VR but Rhee was also realistic about the obstacles the industry must overcome before it can attain any sort of seamless experience. . “Today’s VR equipment is still very heavy,” Rhee said. “It can sometimes cause dizziness, and for these qualities to be improved [VR gear] requires a lot of computational power. It also restricts mobility because it has to have a wire.”
Shortcomings and Way Forward
Discussing the shortcomings and obstacles to virtual reality, Rhee stood in front of a slide that listed additional “areas for innovation,” including VR image quality and limited input control. Bandwidth and storage of large video files are also concerns, according to Dickerson. “These are exactly the areas we are working on to try to improve,” Rhee said.
It is without doubt that Samsung is making all the right moves to be a major stakeholder in this industry and if the technology goes mainstream as it is hoped it will, the revenue that will be generated from virtual reality for Samsung will be massive to say the least. Various other tech giants are of course investing in the technology and there will be competition. This competition actually will help spur further developments in the efficiency and delivery of virtual reality content.