Samsung was one of the very first smartphone manufacturers to bet on VR. The mobile giant launched its Samsung Gear in 2013, 6 years before Facebook launched the popular Oculus Quest (now Meta Quest) on the market. The Samsung Gear then used a Galaxy Note as a screen, which was far from ideal but had the badge to introduce the general public to VR. But what about today? Is Samsung still well positioned in the race for Metavers VR/AR compared to heavyweights like Meta and tomorrow Apple?
For the analyst Kim Gwang-soo of the society eBest Investment and Securities, Samsung would now be totally dropped on these future markets: “Big tech companies, rather than smartphone makers, are at the forefront of XR devices because they have the necessary content and platforms. Google has an Android operating system, Microsoft has Xbox, and Sony has PlayStation. It’s risky for Samsung to roll out XR devices, so Samsung has no choice but to stick with foldable phones. »
In fact, Samsung has bet heavily on the foldable smartphone, with two ranges already in the catalog that have been present for several years, namely the Galaxy Z Fold and the Galaxy Z Flip. During the same period, Apple did file a few patents around a foldable iPhone, but all the leaks pointed rather to a mixed reality device, or rather two devices, a standalone and very high-end VR headset planned for the end of the year or the beginning of 2023, and ultra light augmented reality glasses rather for 2024-2025. And it could be that Samsung did not target the right market, ie the one with the strongest growth prospects. Thus, current data and projections indicate that the VR and AR market will represent a turnover of 300 billion dollars by 2024 (for 70 million VR devices in operation), which is far above what the foldable smartphone market can generate.
Even if Samsung “sees the light”, the manufacturer would have already accumulated a huge technological gap that will undoubtedly be difficult to fill in the medium term. Samsung’s software ecosystem remains weak, and the South Korean giant has not made enough major acquisitions in the sector to hope to quickly return to the level in terms of patents and technologies (apart from an investment in the company AR DigiLens ). Opposite, Microsoft is forging an alliance with Qualcomm and refining its HoloLens models, Sony announces its PSVR 2, Oculus is already preparing its third iteration of Meta Quest headphones, Panasonic presents its ultra-compact and light MeganeX, without forgetting of course Apple which is furnishing an overpowered standalone VR headset (5 tflops assumed).