Samsung Electronics have joined hands with Google and Qualcomm to develop next-generation extended reality (XR) devices. The specific method of their cooperation has not been finalized. But as Apple is about to release a mixed reality (MR) device within this year, the three companies are banding together to compete with Apple in the next-generation virtual reality device market.
After introducing new models at the Galaxy Unpacked 2023 event held at the Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco on Feb. 1 (local time), Roh Tae-moon, head of Samsung Electronics’ Mobile Experience (MX) Division, said, “We will set up a next-generation XR ecosystem with Qualcomm and Google to transform the future of mobile devices and services.”
Afterward, Roh personally introduced Cristiano Amon, CEO of Qualcomm, and Hiroshi Lockheimer, senior vice president of Google. Even after the event was over, the three took a tour of an XR experience center together, showing off their strong alliance. Samsung Electronics has been using Qualcomm’s application processor (AP) chips for its smartphones. Its smartphones are also powered by Google’s Android operating system (OS).
On the other hand, Apple is using an AP chip of its own design and is planning to reduce its dependence on Qualcomm by developing its own cellular modem chips.
“In XR, we are working together with Samsung to usher in a new era of immersive digital experiences that blur the border between the real and digital worlds,” said CEO Cristiano Amon.
“AR and VR are interesting spaces that Google has been investing in for a long time,” added Google’s Hiroshi Lockheimer. “Google has joined Samsung and Qualcomm as it needs cutting-edge hardware and software to deliver next-generation experiences.”
XR is a term that generally includes virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) technologies. It is connected to the metaverse, which shows a whole new world.
Through this alliance, Samsung has secured partners in manufacturing XR devices and friendly customers in the field of high-performance memory semiconductor supply and foundry services.
Foreign media outlets also reported the news of the alliance among the three companies. The Washington Post reported in an interview with CEO Roh that Samsung’s XR business will include not only an alliance with Google and Qualcomm, but service partnerships with Meta (parent company of Facebook and Instagram) and Microsoft. Roh hinted that the alliance could be further expanded. Meta was the first among major big tech companies to enter the VR market by launching the Oculus Quest, a VR device.
Meanwhile, about 2,000 people from media outlets and Samsung’s partner companies crowded the Galaxy S23 Unpacked event, which lasted about an hour. This event was held face-to-face for the first time in three years since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.
“The Galaxy S23 series aims to boost sales by more than 10 percent compared to the previous S22 series,” Roh said.
Regarding the introduction of Qualcomm’s AP chip which is a key component for the Galaxy S23 series, Roh said, “We simply followed the conclusion that Qualcomm’s chip is the most suitable,” adding, “We will apply the best chip according to our situations in the future as we did in the past.” Samsung Electronics gave up loading its own Exynos AP into the Galaxy S23 series.
“Qualcomm, a strong chipset maker, Samsung Electronics, a leader in product hardware, and Google, which can provide the operating system and services united to create an excellent XR ecosystem,” Roh said with regard to the XR alliance with Google and Qualcomm. “We will flesh out our plan on it in the future.”