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Samsung Says It's Taking Some Time Off For Thinking and Waiting To See How the VR Market Shapes Up (xda-developers.com) 125

Samsung says it is taking some time off to think before creating the next-generation VR headsets. The company said it wants to see the direction the market takes over the next few months and years. The company added that it is satisfied with the progress it has made in the mobile VR space (rightfully so, Samsung is among the frontrunners in VR tech), but it isn't happy with the state of display technology that goes along with the headsets. One solution the company sees right now is 10K displays, but that alone would require $5-10 billion commitment from Samsung. From an article on XDA: Samsung believes display technology needs to advance to at least twice the pixel density that we have in smartphones today. So it looks like the company is waiting and seeing how the experience of a standalone VR headset will be with Ultra HD display panels. Samsung's President & Chief Strategy Officer, Young Sohn, says this could be an incentive for the company to advance the technology faster, but it would cost them at least $5 to $10 billion to do so and develop a 10K mobile display.
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Samsung Says It's Taking Some Time Off For Thinking and Waiting To See How the VR Market Shapes Up

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  • Not a bad idea to see how the imminent introduction of Sony shakes up the market and all the other players... and if the vive concept of the VR space you can walk in beats out Chair VR, or even if something like the Hololens comes along with a true consumer version... or even maybe some dark horse comes out of no-where.

    • Not a bad idea to see how the imminent introduction of Sony shakes up the market and all the other players... and if the vive concept of the VR space you can walk in beats out Chair VR, or even if something like the Hololens comes along with a true consumer version... or even maybe some dark horse comes out of no-where.

      Well... Apple has been snapping-up VR/AR engineering talent for over a year, now...

    • Anyone remember how the 3D tv was taking over every living room in the world ?
      as in, not affordable due to stagnation, ... some place in EU got 50% youth unemployment, belgium has an inactive population of 60% , more actually ... how many of those ... if we exclude from that the ageing population will buy a VR-set over crack, meth or .. maybe even food in the next ten years?
      its a dam' good question sir ... do you have a 3D-tv ? i actually never saw one other than in youtube videos and theres wasnt much t
      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        VR versus portable immersion. The product that will sell is compact VR glasses that you get fitted at an optometrists (compact fixed custom lenses, rather than bulky adjustable ones), looking much more like old coke bottle glasses than goggles. People will want to see around them, so they can use them publicly. Want to obscure outside light, then slip on say a felt shroud the block light from external sources whilst maintaining comfort, around the glasses and cover the gap between the glasses and you face.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The tech is expensive and flakey. There aren't nearly enough complete titles to motivate people to buy. VR sickness is still a real problem.

    It isn't a wise investment, at this point.

    • by Junta ( 36770 )

      I'd agree that it is expensive for a desktop accessory. For a phone, it really isn't an obscene cost adder. I'll say that VR titles are a chicken and egg challenge. I'll say the technology is not really flaky anymore, and VR sickness is an overblown concern. In my experience, exactly one person felt unwell after a VR demo, and that person would get sick just *watching* a 3d game on a monitor. In her case, she only got sick in a demo where her avatar moved. She was not sick in the face of an environmen

  • by jeffb (2.718) ( 1189693 ) on Monday October 03, 2016 @11:43AM (#53004915)

    I think they're waiting to see some more solid demand shape up in the "exploding headgear" market space.

    • flaming.. FTFY

      • by jeffb (2.718) ( 1189693 ) on Monday October 03, 2016 @11:48AM (#53004947)

        Perhaps you missed last week's reports of exploding washing machines [consumerreports.org]. Entirely unrelated to the phone-battery problem, of course, but the last thing a large consumer-goods manufacturer needs is another reason for people to post dumb jokes about them on social media...

        • so, latch fails during spin cycle = explosion? I just think it's a bad year for Samsung. Besides I have visions of Samsung VR wearers heads aflame now. Don't fuck that up.

        • Perhaps you missed last week's reports of exploding washing machines [consumerreports.org]. Entirely unrelated to the phone-battery problem, of course, but the last thing a large consumer-goods manufacturer needs is another reason for people to post dumb jokes about them on social media...

          Considering that Samsung's advice to their washing-machine customers is to either wash everything on Delicate, or shut the machine OFF, I'd say the jokes aren't so dumb...

          BTW, this is exactly what happens when cost-reduction becomes THE major engineering criteria. They undersize the motors, undersize the brushless motor drives, undersize the power supplies, undersize the wiring harnesses, and BOOM!!!

          • ...BTW, this is exactly what happens when cost-reduction becomes THE major engineering criteria. They undersize the motors, undersize the brushless motor drives, undersize the power supplies, undersize the wiring harnesses, and BOOM!!!

            BTW, this is exactly what will keep happening because the cost of the worst lawsuit seems to be always be exponentially cheaper than a well designed and built product.

            Reputation scarring? With today's attention span? Fucking please. A reputation destroyed today will be utterly forgotten about tomorrow.

            Even the risk of human life isn't worthwhile to manufacturers anymore.

            • Reputation scarring? With today's attention span? Fucking please. A reputation destroyed today will be utterly forgotten about tomorrow.

              Maybe; but I'll bet the iPhone 7 got a bit of an unexpected sales bump from the Samsung Explode-a-Phone...

              Well, "the Street" [investors.com] seems to think so,

            • Reputation scarring? With today's attention span? Fucking please. A reputation destroyed today will be utterly forgotten about tomorrow.

              What will be forgotten about tomorrow? Sorry, I was checking my something or other on my phone.

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      I think they're waiting to see some more solid demand shape up in the "exploding headgear" market space.

      The fore thinking of those executives is mindblowing.

  • at this point other than porn?

    the only mass market adoption i can see is streaming live events to VR users so i don't have to pay $500 to some scalper to see a concert or a sports event. at this point it's a geek toy i wouldn't spend money on unless it came free with a phone

    • by JMZero ( 449047 ) on Monday October 03, 2016 @12:02PM (#53005077) Homepage

      The only reason that VR isn't already a huge mainstream success is price. I've shown Vive games to probably 50 people; a few have since bought one, and pretty much everyone else was blown away... but don't have $3000 sitting around to set one up. Even people who aren't into gaming are often hard to get out of creative stuff like Tilt Brush, or just the experience of being somewhere else. If anything, lots of these things are even more potent to non-geeks who haven't acclimatized to 3d graphics for 20 years. Shooting a zombie in VR is intense; it's even more intense if you haven't played 100 hours of Left 4 Dead and what not.

      One of the challenges VR will have over the next year or so is the proliferation of terrible pseudo-VR experiences. Like, I've talked to a few people online who write the whole thing off because they tried some GearVR plastic cell phone box, and those are pointlessly terrible. But eventually there'll be enough good stuff around that this conversation we're having now will disappear. A proper VR setup very quickly explains itself to anyone who tries it. And when such a setup is cheap (which it will be in a couple years), it'll be something that is very widespread, and will replace a good chunk of current TV, movie, and game content.

      • by kuzb ( 724081 )

        I think this is exactly right. The problem with VR right now isn't the technology - it's the fact that all the major players are trying to come out with a premium product that nobody can afford. This is why it will ultimately fail.

        It's sort of like games on Linux in this respect. Developers need to create the software, and if the sales of the software don't follow they'll feel burned and won't invest effort in to it the next time.

        • I think this is exactly right. The problem with VR right now isn't the technology - it's the fact that all the major players are trying to come out with a premium product that nobody can afford. This is why it will ultimately fail.

          That's simply how new tech works. The question is whether it will catch on and able to be sold in bulk at a low enough price and for a profit. Not long ago a 720P 50 inch television was around to $50K. You can probably buy a 1080P generic brand TV for $300 (give or take) now. A Motorola 8000 cell phone was $4K in 1985. You can get a "dumb phone" now for less than $100 that has better everything (except being used to bludgeon someone). GPS is another good example. In the last 15 years or so it went from $20

          • by kuzb ( 724081 )

            None of these things require any sort of 3rd party developer support, and that's the major difference you're not accounting for. VR success relies on software sales, which is inexorably tied to VR headset sales. This produces a "chicken and the egg" problem.

            A TV, Cell phone, GPS, etc - all of these things when they came out didn't require multiple companies to write applications for them so it matters less if adoption is slow.

            • Multiple companies were involved. Do you think Motorola also ran it's own cell network? Televisions had to deal with multiple standards, issues with broadcasters not wanting to provide OTA, various connectors depending on the brand, DRM, and a bunch of other issues due to different companies and industries. How about Blu-ray then. My first Bluray player listed for $1K (I bought it when the next years model was released for much less than that). I saw one at a store over the weekend for $35. Even worse than
            • The first VCR cost over $3000 dollars. VCRs gave way to DVDs which gave way to Blu-ray which is giving way to streaming. The 3rd party is the content provider. There is no shortage of 3rd party content providers in the video game industry. In fact, it's one of the most profitable on the planet.
              • by kuzb ( 724081 )

                It's far easier to release that content than it is to release a VR game which requires substantially more effort and thought. Your comparison may seem logical, but it isn't.

      • it'll be something that is very widespread, and will replace a good chunk of current TV, movie, and game content.

        I think once it becomes affordable, some of the usage will be to replace televisions as well as portable device viewing. Actually I think that is one of the things that will help adoption greatly. People have become used to watching video on phones an tablets now, rather than being tied to the television in the living room. This will enable them to essentially get the movie screen experience without needing to get out of bed.

      • The only reason that VR isn't already a huge mainstream success is price.

        ^--- Exactly this.
        We have 3 HTC-Vive at work, with which we develop a high end demo/game with. Everyone I've shown it too are basically blown away by it. It's so powerful.You _are_ someplace else. And it can be super fun or scary depending on...

        But since its crazy expensive, very few people will buy it at the moment. Also its a bit too clunky with the cords hanging and such.

      • by gTsiros ( 205624 )

        a $3k computer is necessary only for really modern graphics.
        A https://www.youtube.com/watch?... at the resolution and refresh rate necessary for VR

        • by gTsiros ( 205624 )

          goddammit :|

          second line should read:
          a sub-$1k pc today would have no problem rendering a 10 year old game like shadow of chernobyl at the resolution and refresh rate necessary for VR. (the link was a gameplay video of the game)

          • I agree. The question I'm usually answering is "how much did all this cost?" (and I'm in Canada) - but you could certainly go lower budget and still have something cool.

      • by bigpat ( 158134 )

        One of the challenges VR will have over the next year or so is the proliferation of terrible pseudo-VR experiences.

        I don't think that is necessarily a problem. Plenty of cheap laggy poor quality smartphones out there and I don't think it is a problem for the "market" as a hole. It gives people options. The important thing is that there are quality options at a price point that people can reach.

      • No. The reason VR will never take off is because it makes normal people sick within 15 minutes. You cannot fix that problem because it is human physiology.
        • by JMZero ( 449047 )

          It's easy to make people sick in VR - just spin their surroundings while they're not moving in real life. But your standard room scale experience doesn't do any of that; rather, as you walk around, the tracking is accurate enough that your vision stays synced with your real-life motion. I've had a lot of people use my Vive for longer than 15 minutes, and generally nobody gets sick until they decide they want to try feeling sick (currently I use "Fancy Skiing" for this purpose, it's kind of fun to get all

      • Like, I've talked to a few people online who write the whole thing off because they tried some GearVR plastic cell phone box, and those are pointlessly terrible.

        I think that's part of the problem for me. I've still not tried a "real" VR headset like an Occulus or Vive because I don't visit trade shows and I don't know anyone with one. I HAVE tried a Google Cardboard knockoff with a cellphone and the effect was a huge letdown. It FELT like looking at a little screen in front of my face in a box. I'd love to try a better one but at $500-$700 that's not a purchase I can make on a whim just in case I might like it.

        4K tv's have displays sitting in big box stores tha

  • Having spent a bunch of time with VR, resolution is reasonably far down the list of what I'd fix with the current headsets, and even then I think you'd get most of the benefit out of much more modest increases than this guy seems to want (eg 4k or so). No - what I want is wireless connection to a computer, and more consistency on tracking, latency, and framerate. Also, tracking more objects/body parts/physical room features/etc.. would be great.

    But it's also really great right now, even though prime conte

    • The resolution is more than OK enough for most uses now.

      Wireless is really key for truly mass adoption...

      That in combination with your noted desire to better represent objects and room features, makes me think that in the end something like the Hololens will ultimately be the form the technology takes. Even though the current implementation is incredibly expensive and has a really narrow field of view... It just brings roomscale stuff from the Vive to a more practical place since you don't have to worry a

    • Well, I hate to be captain obvious here but wireless is the enemy of latency and jitter and in VR is extremely important to keep latency down. Not that I wouldn't like to see a headset that was wireless and good for VR...
  • Let their competitors sink a lot of money into expensive technology people don't have the money for.
  • As a consumer I'm doing the same thing. Will this take off (as smartphones did) or will this be a fad that- or will it sputter and start to fade after a few years like tablets did?

    Currently, the only VR I've tried out was pretty lame and didn't look worth me buying. Maybe if they get good and inexpensive enough I will jump on the bandwagon; or maybe they'll stay crap and I will avoid it. It's potentially exciting technology but I'm not getting overly excited yet.

  • Limitations of VR (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday October 03, 2016 @12:06PM (#53005113)

    Disclosure: My day job some years ago used to be working with VR technologies. 3D environments, headsets, caves, 3D glasses, the works... I'm more familiar than most with the benefits and limitations of VR tech from first hand experience. While the technology has progressed since I worked with it daily, the basic structural limitations of it haven't changed at all.

    The problem with VR is that it lacks a killer app or even much in the way of practical use cases. The practical applications of it are rather narrow in scope and scale. Vehicle simulators, some marketing, some entertainment, a limited subset of games, and a few other things. There just isn't that much you can really do with it. Plus it has some physical usability restrictions that further limit its utility given the reasonably foreseeable state of the art for the next 10-20 years. The biggest market for it will probably be certain types of games. Simulators tend towards the expensive end of the spectrum and there will definitely be some utility there. Useful stuff but nothing that is going to be life altering for most of us. Lots of people have visions of a holodeck but VR is something quite different than that.

    A much, much, much larger market will be the market for Augmented Reality technology. The applications of AR are too numerous to mention and crude versions of it are already in widespread use. AR is going to be enormous though there is some overlap in the technology between AR and VR so developing for VR isn't necessarily a waste of time as long as one's market expectations for it are rational.

    • by jeti ( 105266 )
      I disagree. VR lets you view objects and visit places whether they exist or don't. It lets you meet people there, allows you to create your own environments and play. You can preview your hotel room, visit Mars, sit in a car with custom configuration or walk in your restyled home. You can draw and animate intuitively or meet a friend for a round of Ping Pong, wherever he lives. The possibilities for entertainment, education, collaborative creative work and socializing are endless.

      The technology is only ju
      • ...The possibilities for entertainment, education, collaborative creative work and socializing are endless...

        I remember they used to describe the "World Wide Web" in that exact same way.

        You know, back before it turned into the cesspool of porn it is today.

        Given the history, I can't imagine how long it will take VR tech to get sales drunk and regret that late night of marketing...

        • by jeti ( 105266 )
          I do view objects and places on the WWW.
          I do meet people there and play.
          I check out hotel rooms and book them on the web.
          I do view images of Mars.
          I have configured my car online.
          I use the web to communicate with friends and to find real world meetings with people who share my interests.
          It has become the greatest resource for me to learn skills from cooking to advanced math.

          This "cesspool of porn" has also become the greatest tool for entertainment, education, collaborative work and, to some e
        • Actually I liked it better when it was a cesspool of porn. Now it's a cesspool of selfies, a cesspool of manipulation and a cesspool of propaganda in addition to a cesspool of porn.

      • by Junta ( 36770 )

        I enjoy VR, but it's really only going to be a high end gaming accessory for now.

        There's a lot of possibilites, but many of those possibilities have had room for improvement for a long time even without VR, and those improvements have never materialized. VR increases the potential of what is possible, but if it were that compelling we'd have 3D environments of hotel rooms and cars to play with already, rather than generally photographs. Photographs seem to be 'good enough'. You may say photosphere type

      • I disagree. VR lets you view objects and visit places whether they exist or don't. It lets you meet people there, allows you to create your own environments and play.

        I'm well aware of what it does. I'm also (unlike many) well aware of what it does not do. What it does not do is actually put people in the location as if they were actually there. VR is in reality a form of a fancy monitor. It allows you to look around rather than having a fixed viewpoint. Useful at times but not nearly as often as VR enthusiasts imagine.

        You know what else lets you view objects and visit places whether they exist or don't? A television. Sure you cannot look around but it does a good

    • what are your thoughts on castAR? Have you used it?
      • by janoc ( 699997 )

        I did and I am following the project from the start.

        It is an interesting idea and innovative approach to how to produce 3D images. I wouldn't actually call it AR, it is more a general mixed reality setup, because it doesn't really attempt to overlay registered virtual image over the real world - it displays computer generated imagery over a specially prepared surface (the retroreflective foil).

        I think it will be interesting novelty item for the entertainment, but probably not all that big there. It depends

    • I agree with you completely, I'm also a former Cave jockey and current Oculus user. Tim Cook was right, AR is where it's at. My current place of work is keenly interested, and there's some others in my industry that are going all in. [bostonherald.com] And that reality is making me very happy.
    • by janoc ( 699997 )

      I am working as both researcher and developer in this field for almost two decades.

      There certainly isn't a "lack of a killer app" there. However, there is one big difference - I am talking about professional market. Simulators & marketing are one thing (even though those rarely focus on HMDs but rather on projected displays - HMD is cumbersome).

      Then you have training applications - machine operators, surgery training, maintenance training, safety procedures, dangerous materials handling, you name it. Of

      • I am working as both researcher and developer in this field for almost two decades. There certainly isn't a "lack of a killer app" there.

        A killer app is one that drives mass adoption of a technology. Something that makes people who previously never were interested in the technology to need to have it. VR has no killer app or at least no one has come up with one to date. Spreadsheets were what drove people to adopt personal computers in the workplace. That was a killer app. VR has nothing like that that is going to put it in the hands of the every day person.

        However, there is one big difference - I am talking about professional market. Simulators & marketing are one thing

        We've had those for years and they are the very definition of niche uses. Simul

  • Samsung is simply waiting to see if Hillary is elected; if so it's time to bunker down and stock up on iodine tablets as nuclear exchanges are inevitable...

    After all she is the one who wanted to Drone Assange [twitter.com]. After Hillary you all will be crying to Bush to come back.

  • Getting fire to look right in VR is tough.
  • ...they've got some exploding washing machines to sort out.

  • I suspect they have their lawyers working first to figure out how to get in without stepping on someone else patents and how they could construct their own so they can protect their market.
  • I am glad Samsung read my slashdot post in April of last year when I announced that a 10K display was required. At the time you guys laughed at it and my calculations. Proof: http://m.slashdot.org/thread/4... [slashdot.org] I hope this is enough vindication.

    You slashdotters did the same in 2005 (nearly two years before the iPhone was released, and 5 years before the first phablet) when I announced that we needed large screen touchscreen phones that too was pooh poohed the same way. http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

    Anyway

  • kim jong-un: Fire all missles, all nukes!!! Oh Boy! We have the BEST VR in the world! Officer: Ummm Most Honored Leader *wide eyed* This is not real VR, we just cut a window in a box! kim jong-un: Hmmm time for lunch, bring me a peasant, I'm hungry!
    • Your joke is horrible, but I wouldn't put it past the North Korean scientists. I'm sure they've developed their own VR solutions at this point. Hell, they've built viable nukes with scotch tape and rubber bands; it's relatively easy to roll your own VR solution these days.
  • Remember how Samsung chickened out of the OLED TV market, claiming that those would just be "too expensive" to become a market success? Well, turned out that LG was capable of building and selling OLED TVs at reasonable prices.

    So now they are using the same kind of argument to stop their VR ambitions. Their competitors will love it.

    Seems that Samsung's company strategy today is "Innovation just cost us money!"

  • If I kept making shit that blows up or catches fire[1] I'd probably take a timeout too.

    [1] Unless I owned a match factory or on armaments company, of course.

  • Being overly negative here, but this might just be how VR dies...

    Honestly, I think VR was overestimated by too many companies, but this was the chance of it going big.
    It's a hard concept to sell, and I still consider it a highly niche thing, but I wouldn't mind having games and content produced for it, and the concept getting successful to a point that I could actually afford it. :P
    The problem is that if big companies starts hitting the brakes now, waiting to see how the market will react to VR, it's just t

  • Putting a 'bag' over your to pretend you are in a different world doesn't really make a game or entertainment more enjoyable.

    IMAX and HD theaters do a very good job bring you into other worlds - yet increasingly people are preferring the convenience of watching stuff on their smart phones - with augmented reality like Pokemon Go sort of mixing things up a bit, but still its and app on your phone that happens to be mobile x connected x GPU enabled.

    A good FPS on an XBOX / Playstation / Steam PC sitting on cou

  • by fatp ( 1171151 )
    According to recent advances in Samsung technology, its VR headset should give super realistic experience when being shot in FPS games
  • The company is quoted as saying, "It's not you. It's me."

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