Samsung Electronics is developing a metaverse gadget designed to enable people to explore virtual spaces, joining Meta and Microsoft in betting big on tech’s newest new thing.
When asked at the MWC 2022 trade show in Barcelona if the electronics maker plans to release any metaverse-related hardware this year, Vice Chairman and CEO Han Jong-hee struck a positive note.
“Please look forward to the launch [of the metaverse device], since we are working hard,” said Han, who heads both the mobile communication and consumer electronics businesses at Samsung Electronics.
Still, Han was mum about the type of the device being made and when it will be launched.
“It is important to raise the quality of product to the highest standards,” Han said evasively.
Industry insiders expect the gadget to be a pair of smart glasses supporting augmented reality, which in its grandest description is now called the metaverse. The metaverse refers to a virtual world where digital representations of people (or avatars) interact at work and play. An extended version of the concept is a three-dimensional digital twin of the physical world that supports continuity of identity, objects, payments and many other real world aspects.
Big tech companies like Meta, Google, Microsoft launched AR glasses in either prototypes or commercialized products over the years, but are upping the ante with the metaverse concept.
Multiple media outlets suspect that Apple is also on track to develop a product with a launch as early as this year. Apple has neither denied or admitted the speculation, although its CEO Tim Cook has been vocal about the promise of the metaverse market.
Samsung Electronics gave a shot at a VR headset with the Gear VR series in cooperation with Oculus, but it didn’t take off and was suspended in 2019.
SK Telecom, Korea’s top mobile carrier, also promoted the metaverse bandwagon during the Barcelona trade show with its metaverse platform Ifland.
After its launch in Korea last year, the company plans to bring Ifland to 80 different countries this year.
SK Telecom CEO Ryu Young-sang suggested that the carrier will collaborate with Samsung on the release of the new metaverse device.
“Whenever Samsung launches new products, SK Telecom has often been selected as a partner,” Ryu said in a press conference during the MWC.
“I think this time will be the same, although nothing has been decided for now.”
Besides teasing new products, Samsung also displayed its latest laptops and the Galaxy S22 smartphone series in Barcelona.
Its Galaxy Book2 Pro series, introduced at the show, comes with improved security and features tailored for users working in different locations.
“We are in a new era where hybrid working is the norm,” said KC Choi, executive vice president at Samsung Electronics, “The Galaxy Book2 Business is a PC designed for this hybrid world, empowering enterprises with defense-grade security, advanced productivity features and connected Galaxy experiences across devices and operating systems.”
The laptop line comes with Microsoft’s Secured-core, an advanced security system designed to fend off malicious firmware.
BY PARK EUN-JEE [email@example.com]