According to TalkAndroid, Samsung has filed a trademark application for a headset called the Odyssey that will run VR content on its own – without the phone
Rumors of a standalone virtual reality headset began hitting the web on Tuesday with a post in TalkAndroid by Jared Peters hinting that the Korean tech giant might be looking past the Gear VR for something a little a bit more ambitious.
According to Peters, the company has filed a trademark application for a headset that they are calling the Odyssey that will run virtual reality content on its own, sans the phone.
Peters points out correctly that this kind of device would put them directly against Oculus and HTC with their products that are already out, making for some tough competition. Not only would it be difficult for Samsung to break in at this late stage in the game, it would also probably be a bad idea.
If there has been one interesting thing to have come out of the augmented reality Pokemon Go craze that has hit the globe in the past week or so, it is that VR’s march to dominance will not go unchallenged.
VR headsets like Oculus may provide really immersive experiences, but they are extremely limiting and downright expensive. On top of purchasing the headset itself, they require the user to buy heavy duty computers to power them and often a number of important peripheries to take advantage of their full potential.
The genius that is Samsung Gear is that anyone can put down $100 and all of a sudden have a very decent VR experience. It might not be the same level as an Oculus, but for most users, it will give them exactly what they want. VR headsets are still for a very niche set of users and unlikely to make it out into the mass market anytime soon.
The nature of VR also means that a user is forced to remain in one spot, which can be wonderful if you feel like playing a game or watching a movie at home, but seems less than ideal for the mobile focused world that likes to consume content on the go. Imagine people walking down the street with VR. It would be worse than what we have now with smartphones.
It is very unclear as to why Samsung would want to turn their focus away from the much more accessible Gear to a product that would draw less of a crowd. If anything, device makers should be thinking more along the lines of improving the mobile experience.
Apple is still yet to step into the the VR ring, and in all likelihood are not planning on it anytime soon.
What I want to see is a move towards stronger mobile devices that can run strong VR programs and become even more central to our interaction with technology and the internet. Imagine all that power in your pocket, using your phone in a headset, speaking voice commands, and replacing the need for a laptop.
While taking on a new market must be an exciting prospect for Samsung, it might be worth reconsidering and pushing harder towards a stronger, more unified device.