Published: Wed, October 04, 2017
Science | By Cecil Little

Samsung HMD Odyssey is the highest-end Windows Mixed Reality headset yet

Samsung HMD Odyssey is the highest-end Windows Mixed Reality headset yet

Mixed reality is the promise that headsets will do both seamlessly, and that there won't be a hard division between AR and VR.

Since past year, Microsoft has been pushing mixed reality as a central part of the Windows 10 Creators Update. Most of the other mixed reality headsets are going with Microsoft's reference specs and LCD screens, which don't refresh quite as fast as the AMOLED displays that Samsung is using here. Odyssey is even priced and packaged similarly, with built-in headphones and motion controllers built to Microsoft's specs that resemble a cross between Oculus Touch and the HTC Vive controllers. It stands out because it has dual-OLED displays, each with a higher 1400 x 1400 resolution and 110-degree field-of-view.

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Now, Samsung is spreading its virtual wings once again, releasing a Microsoft-backed virtual reality headset that requires a PC to run.

YG Choi, Samsung SVP of PC business team says, "The Samsung HMD Odyssey is a high-performing headset, which like all of our products, delivers meaningful innovation to our consumers' lives". But a prototype sold to developers costs £2,719 and there was no update as to when it will get a mass-market release. The company is also backing up mixed reality with a big software effort, starting with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Microsoft is promising 20,000 compatible apps will be available from the Windows Store. In August, Microsoft announced plans to have SteamVR content work with its mixed reality headsets.

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At its Windows Mixed Reality event today, Microsoft made a slew of announcements, including that it has a new partner: Samsung.

"The launch of all of those head mounted displays will create a lot of competition and possibly price aggressiveness in this space in the coming holiday season", Annette Zimmermann from the consultancy Gartner told the BBC. Either way, the controllers are part of the most monstrously high-end of the Windows Mixed Reality hardware spectrum.

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At the event today, Alex Kipman, inventor of the Microsoft HoloLens, spent some time on the stage in a Mixed Reality world demonstrating what can be done with the technology.

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