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Samsung is 'working out' a roadmap for mixed reality devices as rumors of an Apple headset swirl

Samsung is working out a roadmap for its mixed reality products, according to a senior executive. But Samsung has experimented with virtual technologies before. In 2015, the company launched a virtual reality headset called the Gear VR (pictured). It was eventually discontinued. Now Samsung is looking for a new direction in mixed reality, an area tech giants think could mark a huge shift in computing.

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BARCELONA, Spain — Samsung is working out a roadmap for so-called mixed reality products, a senior executive for the South Korean technology giant told CNBC, as it looks to push into devices seen by many electronics makers as key for future growth.

Mixed reality has been touted as the next big shift in computing just as the smartphone was, hence companies from Meta to Microsoft are investing in it.

Mixed reality refers to technologies that blend the virtual and physical world. This could involve augmented reality where virtual images or video are overlaid onto the real world. Mixed reality apps and experiences could be accessed via headsets worn by a user.

Patrick Chomet, an executive vice president at Samsung Electronics, told CNBC in an interview that the company is “working out” a roadmap for mixed reality products. He declined to give specifics on when such a product could be released.

Chomet, who was speaking to CNBC at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, highlighted Samsung’s partnership with Alphabet’s Google and U.S. chip giant Qualcomm that was announced in February. The three companies gave very few details about what the partnership entails but said it would focus on mixed reality.

Qualcomm sells a series of chips called Snapdragon XR specifically designed for mixed reality products, such as headsets. Samsung has years of experience in hardware design. While Google’s strength lies in its Android operating system and developers who make apps for it.

Chomet said the partnership is not just about the three companies, however, but also designed grow the mixed reality market.

“The reason why we announced is, is beyond Qualcomm, Google and Samsung alone, we want to prepare the whole ecosystem. There will be many, many developers, content companies and app companies that will prepare innovation and experiences for that ecosystem,” Chomet said.

“Yes, we can do devices. Yes, Qualcomm can do chipsets, yep. Yes, Google can do OS [operating system]. But then in the end, we need more than that, to make a vibrant ecosystem.”

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