Samsung is building a high-end VR headset to rival the Rift

Samsung and Oculus have developed a fruitful, mutually-beneficial partnership over the last few years, with the latter manufacturing the popular Gear VR for the former.

Samsung gets a fine headset to push mobile VR experiences through its new Galaxy smartphones and Oculus gets to introduce people to VR in the hope they’ll be tempted into a Rift purchase.

Well, the friends could be about to turn rivals, with Samsung’s mobile chief Lee Young-hee revealing the company is working on a high-end standalone headset that requires a PC to power.

“We have two tracks” for VR, Lee said in an interview with CNET prior to the Galaxy S8 launch, which also featured the promotion of a Gear VR with a brand new controller.

“First of all, let’s democratize this new demand … [and] make it part of our smartphone experience.”

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As for what comes next, Lee didn’t go much farther other than to say the company is looking at “professional” VR markets.

He said the standalone headset was “still under construction,” and so couldn’t reveal whether the device will be wireless or require a physical connection to a PC.

Back in October, we reported the company could be working on a standalone headset to sit between the Rift and the Gear VR. Whether plans have moved towards higher-end experiences since then remains to be seen.

Regardless, Lee said Samsung had “accomplished what we wished to,” by giving millions of people their first VR experiences through their smartphone.

As well as developing an high-end VR headset, Samsung is looking at AR, Lee said.

“[AR] will be the next big step,” he said.

“We’re under preparation a lot. To provide as a commercial product, we may need more time. It won’t be too late.”

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