It turns out Samsung's rumored virtual reality headset won't be positioned as an Oculus Rift killer. In fact, Oculus is reportedly helping the company build it. And apparently it will ship without a screen, instead using Samsung's smartphones as the primary display. Engadget has followed up on its original report — which claimed that Samsung was building a direct competitor to Oculus Rift — with new details on the unconventional partnership. Samsung will of course provide hardware for its VR device, but Oculus is handling software development. The upcoming product will allegedly place a strong emphasis on media consumption (think Sony's HMZ line) rather than gaming, which is what Oculus is initially focused on.
Samsung wants to beat everyone to virtual reality
This team-based approach is partly rooted in Samsung's intense desire to beat everyone else to market with a mass market virtual reality product, Engadget says. (And yes, that includes Oculus.) The company would be unable to do that if forced to create its own software, so it's instead turning to Oculus for a quick fix. But don't expect an experience that's identical to the Rift. This sounds like anything but that. In current prototypes, Samsung's virtual reality is said to be "navigated solely through motion and voice." Choosing items in the 3D user interface can be achieved by nodding your head or tapping the headset — but Engadget notes the nodding gesture likely won't make it to a consumer product.
It might seem strange that Oculus would lend Samsung a hand in this way, the partnership is also beneficial to Brendan Iribe, Palmer Luckey, and their team's ultimate mission. In exchange for its software contributions, Oculus will reportedly gain early access to Samsung's "next-gen" OLED screens, which will prove vital to its own consumer hardware roadmap Engadget claims these panels are "higher def than 1080p," which would put them a step above what's inside the second-gen Oculus Rift developer kit. But neither company has acknowledged a partnership or confirmed that this product exists to begin with, so don't take the report as fact just yet.