Samsung to Build Odyssey VR Headset for Windows
By Jay Greene
SAN FRANCISCO -- Microsoft Corp. enlisted one of the world's largest consumer electronics makers, Samsung Electronics Co., as it works to crack the emerging virtual-reality market.
At an event here Tuesday hosted by Microsoft, Samsung will introduce HMD Odyssey, a virtual-reality headset that uses Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality, a piece of Windows 10 that enables immersive computing through headsets and other devices.
Samsung joins Acer Inc., Dell Inc., HP Inc. and Lenovo Group Ltd. in building headsets on top of the Windows platform. The devices all use virtual-reality technology, which occludes users view of the real world and immerses them in digitally generated sights and sounds.
Samsung is an important partner for Microsoft, which is ramping up in the virtual- and augmented-reality markets where it will compete against Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc.'s Google, Facebook Inc. and others. Samsung is already a leader in virtual reality with its Gear VR device that runs Facebook's Oculus technology.
In a blog post from Microsoft, Samsung Electronics America vice president and general manager Alanna Cotton said the company "is committed to working across platforms."
The Odyssey, which comes with two controllers, features sharp OLED displays, rather than the LCD displays used on lower-priced headsets. It includes headphones and a built-in microphone, and can be preordered for $499 on Oct. 3. It will be available Nov. 6.
Headsets from Microsoft's four other partners, which the company had previously said would start at $399, can also be preordered Oct. 3, and will be available Oct. 17.
Microsoft is trying to build an entire technology ecosystem for virtual and augmented reality, and put itself at the center. It was among the first to jump into the business, introducing its HoloLens augmented-reality headset nearly three years ago, though the device isn't commercially available yet.