October 24, 2019 weblog
Will a Samsung headset entry rain on Apple's AR parade?
Tech watchers got busy this week in patent talk over possibilities that Samsung may be thinking of coming out with a device that could rival Apple's alleged AR glasses.
Earlier this month, The Verge reported on what analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, an Apple watcher, had to say about the company's future landings.
His predictions included this: "Kuo expects Apple to launch its augmented reality headset for the iPhone in the second quarter of next year. Earlier this year, the analyst predicted that Apple would begin production of the headset at the end of 2019, and at least one report previously suggested that it could arrive in 2020."
That prediction got a lot of buzz, and now there is more patent talk about a rival. A patent submitted by Samsung has been spotted by GalaxyClub, and it calls for an augmented reality headset.
Samsung initially filed the patent in February and it was made public in South Korea only recently.
Think of a patent that goes heavy on design drawings but thin on verbal details. Tech watchers were left trying to stare at the figures to assume what the drawings revealed about the product's intent and components.
Eric Abent, gaming editor of SlashGear, said that "we don't get any technical details about the device itself."
"Unfortunately, that is all we can get from the report as it lacks the technical details that could further help us determine the technology Samsung is working on in developing the AR headset if they indeed are," said Nica Osorio in International Business Times.
So what does the patent at least suggest about the Samsung's AR concept? A display for each eye. Two forward-facing cameras. Stephen Lambrechts, senior editor of TechRadar in Australia, was among the tech watchers who were unsure about other drawing details.
From what he could discern, there was "either a small speaker or an area filled with venting holes."
MSPoweruser noticed some vents in the top of the headset, "presumably where the electronics go."
Another puzzler that grabbed attention among those who read the patent was an image showing a cable down the AR glasses' right arm. Lambrechts said it was not known if this was "a charging cable or if the headset will require a wired connection to an accompanying smart device in order to function." Other sites guessed a diagram showing a cord suggested a cable that plugs into your phone.
Another image, said MSPoweruser, showed that the arms fold over. This suggested to the author that the package will be "relatively pocketable."
All in all, the tech watchers could not ignore the fact that the patent discovery comes on the heels of news that Apple is interested in AR glasses too. While the patent discovery follows alleged Apple designs on a VR headset, the question becomes which would score higher with consumers? Will Samsung's AR headset beat out Apple's and on what merits?
Osorio: This AR headset "would be the first incursion of the Seoul-based tech and electronic titan in the world of augmented reality after several years of concentrating on its series of mobile Gear Virtual Reality Headsets. In recent years, however, there is a gradual decline in the mobile industry's interest in VR gears and in virtual reality in general."
Surur in MSPoweruser had the same sentiments: "The wind has gone out of phone-based VR, with Google's DayDream and Samsung's GearVR both stepping off stage left."
A reader reaction in MSPoweruser: "For the next 5 years AR market is just a testing ground to perfect the product to make it a viable purchase rather then a novelty. Every product launch is a learning curve and no one is ahead in every aspect."
Abent remarked that "it may not be long before we see these two smartphone titans going head-to-head on another front... stay tuned."
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