In March, a Samsung executive confirmed that the company is working on a new standalone virtual reality headset. Unlike its existing Gear VR headsets, which rely on smartphones to work, the new high-end models in development will be self-contained devices with their own displays and processors, targeting pro gamers and content creators.
At the recent Mobile World Congress Shanghai expo, Samsung revealed a prototype headset, built to showcase its ExynosVR III reference platform.
As the image above shows, the headset can support dual Quad HD displays at 90 frames per second, or a single 4K display at 75fps. There are two entries under "high performance customized CPU" - M2 Dual 2.5GHz; and Cortex-A53 Quad 1.7GHz - along with an ARM Mali G71 MP20 graphics processor. From those details it sounds like Samsung has used a customized version of the Exynos 8895 chipset built into some models of its new Galaxy S8 and S8+ flagships.
Samsung is working with Visual Camp on the reference model for its ExynosVR platform, using the company's eye-tracking technology. Visual Camp's tech will enable Samsung to use 'foveated rendering' on its headset; this is a technique that tracks the user's eye movements and only renders what they're directly looking at in full resolution, allowing peripheral graphics to be rendered at lower-res, helping to reduce heat build-up and power consumption.
"By collaborating with Samsung Electronics," Visual Camp CEO Suk Yunchan said, "our technology was internationally recognized at MWCS 2017, enabling us to secure a bridgehead for future global marketing efforts. Now, we will continue promoting the high quality of Korean startup technologies and products overseas."
The ExynosVR III headset appears to have integrated external cameras - presumably for inside-out tracking - and will reportedly incorporate several other technologies, including hand-tracking, facial expression recognition, and voice interactions. But as Samsung continues to develop its reference design, it seems we'll have to wait a while longer before it brings a final product to market.