Samsung is taking a step up from its Gear VR headsets with the introduction of a mixed reality headset, which will be powered by Microsoft software. The tech giants announced the Samsung HMD Odyssey headset Tuesday as a product that will mix virtual reality and augmented reality into a cohesive experience. Samsung HMD Odyssey will be available Nov. 6 for $499, with preorders already being accepted in the U.S. The headset will be available to markets, including the China, Korea, Brazil and Hong Kong later in 2017. Primary specs for the headset include dual 3.5-inch (1,440x1,600 resolution) AMOLED displays, which create a 110-degree field of view; premium built-in AKG headphones, which create 360 degrees of spatial sound, two Six Degrees of Freedom (6 DOF) camera sensors and two motion controllers. The headset is made to be a plug and play device -- users connect the Samsung HMD Odyssey to a PC and set up with no need to map an outside space.
Apple's highly anticipated augmented and virtual reality hardware may be released two years later than previously expected. According to a report from The Information that cites sources within Apple, the company is working on two separate pieces of hardware. One is an augmented and virtual reality headset, slated to be ready in 2022, and the other is a pair of augmented reality glasses that could be released the following year. Apple has long been rumored to be developing its own pair of AR glasses. Sources tell The Information that the headset, which will apparently toggle between augmented reality and a more immersive virtual reality, will take a similar shape to a more compact virtual reality headset from the Facebook-owned, Oculus.
Facebook will sell a $199 standalone Oculus Go VR headset, part of the social network's mission to get 1 billion people on board with the virtual technology. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Oculus Go finds "that sweet spot" of an affordable price and a high-end virtual reality experience. Current VR experiences fall into two categories: smartphone-enabled headsets carrying a lower price tag but a jumpier experience, and PC experiences that are higher quality, but cost more and are usually tethered to the computer. "It's the most accessible VR experience ever," said Zuckerberg in the keynote for Oculus Connect, a developers event for the virtual reality platform. The Oculus Go will ship next year.
As a platform, virtual reality isn't as much of a novelty as it was a few years ago, thanks to headsets ranging from entry-level cardboard models to higher-end models like the HTC Vive and PlayStation VR. Thanks to recent sales numbers from analyst firm IDC via UploadVR, this status is also reflected on the sales charts. While the sales of VR headsets are relatively modest, the industry is still seeing steady growth from buyers. For the first quarter of 2017, IDC reports around 2.2 million headsets were sold worldwide among all tracked manufacturers. It's a strong year-over-year growth figure for the industry, as IDC notes that only 1.3 million headsets were sold in the first quarter of 2016 by comparison.