Samsung, Microsoft Join Forces to Beat Apple’s Upcoming MR Headset

Samsung, in true Samsung fashion, does not want to be outdone by Apple. As such, rumor has it that the South Korean tech giant could debut an AR/VR headset two years before Apple.

According to The Korea Times, Samsung is currently working with Microsoft to develop a headset that supports both augmented and virtual reality — other known as an MR, or mixed reality, device.

Reportedly, that partnership is part of an expanding “strategic alliance” with Microsoft.

The new rumor comes a couple weeks after a report about Apple’s similar headset, which indicated that the device could sport dual 8K displays and would support both augmented and virtual reality. While the existence of Apple’s under-development headset has been a poorly kept secret for months, that April report was the first time we’ve heard about the device being an MR product.

Apple’s AR/VR headset is largely expected to debut in 2019 or 2020. But Samsung, obviously endeavoring to beat Apple to the punch, is planning on unveiling its own MR headset this August at the IFA tradeshow in Berlin.

If you’re familiar with Microsoft and Samsung’s relationship, you probably know that it hasn’t been the smoothest — largely due to Microsoft’s failed entry into the smartphone market and some resulting patent squabbles. But The Korea Times’ Samsung source indicates that it’s shifted from a “love-hate” relationship to more of a “wait-and-see” ordeal.

“Samsung Electronics is working on developing cordless and high-priced headsets supporting both VR and AR,” the source said, adding that the South Korean tech giant will use in-house processors, OLED displays and other components.

“But more importantly, Microsoft has lowered its demand for royalties as it is taking a multi-pronged approach to delivering a rich ecosystem of games and applications that will entice users,” the Samsung official added.

Microsoft has been increasingly focused on mixed-reality platforms, some of which are also co-developed with Samsung. This new partnership pretty much lines up with its ambitions in the area.

Of course, Samsung does not have a sterling history of sticking to its deadlines. But with Microsoft onboard, there’s a better chance that the two firms might actually put out a mixed-reality device this year.

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