At a Microsoft event in San Francisco on Tuesday, Samsung unveiled the HMD Odyssey, a premium augmented reality (AR) headset that could prove to be a serious option for businesses looking to explore the technology.
Much like the HTC Vive, the Odyssey features two handheld controllers with illuminated rings at the top. However, it also features dual 3.5" AMOLED displays and built-in AKG headphones that offer 360-degree spatial sound from every direction, to help drive immersion.
SEE: Virtual and augmented reality policy (Tech Pro Research)
The headset has a 110-degree field of view, and each display has a resolution of 1440x1600, with a refresh rate of 90Hz. The Samsung HMD utilizes inside-out tracking and it also has a built-in microphone so the user has access to Cortana.
The device has the standard sensors such as an accelerometer, a gyrometer, a compass, and a proximity sensor. It also uses two Six Degrees of Freedom (6 DOF) cameras for sensing, which can allow the user to move more naturally and fluidly, a press release said.
Perhaps the biggest way in which the Odyssey stands out among other premium AR and virtual reality (VR) headsets is in its setup. Unlike the Vive, for example, the Odyssey requires no setup of extra sensors, and users are free to roam wherever they can.
"Unlike typical head-mounted displays, you do not need to install any extra motion sensors - simply connect to your PC and get started," the release said. "With inside-out position tracking, users are not restricted to a limited space during their virtual reality experience."
For business users, this could make the Odyssey an attractive option. For marketing purposes at events and trade shows, the Odyssey seems like it would require less work to set up and be less limiting for potential users. This could also make it more useful for training programs, as it could potentially be used in many different environments.
The Samsung HMD Odyssey will cost $500. It is available for preorder now, and will ship by November 10, 2017. Other Windows Mixed Reality headsets for preorder include the Acer Windows Mixed Reality Headset, the Dell Visor, the HP Windows Mixed Reality Headset, and the Lenovo Explorer.
Microsoft also announced that AltspaceVR would be joining Microsoft via an acquisition. AltspaceVR offers a social VR application that enables users to join virtual chat rooms, watch videos together, or attend virtual events. This could bolster the use of Windows Mixed Reality products as conduits for virtual board meetings, company all-hands, or for specific company trainings.
The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers
- Samsung unveiled the HMD Odyssey, a $500 Windows Mixed Reality display with built-in headphones and premium components.
- The HMD Odyssey can be deployed easily, without the need to setup extra sensors, which could make it a great marketing or training tool.
- Microsoft has acquired social VR company AltspaceVR, which could boost the company's efforts in bringing AR and VR use cases to business users.
- Executive's guide to the business value of VR and AR (free ebook) (TechRepublic)
- Microsoft acquires social virtual reality startup AltspaceVR (ZDNet)
- Build 30 Mini Virtual Reality Games in Unity 3D From Scratch (TechRepublic)
- VR and AR: The Business Reality (ZDNet)
- Microsoft HoloLens: The smart person's guide (TechRepublic)
Conner Forrest has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.