Samsung confirms ‘new XR platform coming this year’ in partnership with Google

At the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event in Paris – where it showcased new gadgets like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6, Galaxy Watch Ultra, and Galaxy Ring – Google was invited along to talk about all things Gemini AI. But in an almost blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, Google reaffirmed its XR platform plans (a catchall for VR, AR, and MR). Samsung President and Head of the Mobile Experience (MX) business TM Roh said that the fruits of Samsung and Google’s XR partnership are coming “this year.”

Considering we’re already over halfway through 2024, Samsung and Google had better get a move on. Our best guess for when we’ll hear more is at Samsung Developer’s Conference (SDC) which is scheduled for October 3, 2024. Though what will we see?

Previously Google and Samsung have suggested we’ll see some kind of physical device that’s XR-focused and that makes sense; what’s the use of a new XR platform if nothing can use it? This could be a Samsung XR headset, or maybe even a pair of glasses – standalone is possible, but we’re expecting something along the lines of Xreal Air 2 Ultras which require a smartphone to operate.

Putting our conspiracy brains on, a hardware launch in October makes a lot of sense when you also consider that Google has brought its next Pixel phone launch event (which usually take place around October) forward to August. Perhaps in an effort to give the new Pixel 9 space to breathe before it shows off some new XR tech later in the year – whatever it may be.

As for the XR platform itself, we imagine it’ll be Android’s answer to VisionOS and Meta’s HorizonOS. The latter of which could be particularly tough competition; Meta has spent years crafting what is easily the best XR OS from a software and usability perspective and it announced that Horizon OS will appear on non-Meta Quest headsets in the near future – including devices from Asus, Lenovo, and Xbox.

Google and Samsung will therefore need to be ready to show off something special on both the hardware and software front. Otherwise, all this hype buildup since the XR platform was first teased in February 2023 will have been for naught.

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