Samsung looks to expand VR outside of smartphones

Samsung plans to expand its virtual reality (VR) business outside of smartphones, with the company's future outlook to be presented during the Galaxy Unpacked event at next week's Mobile World Congress (MWC), an executive revealed.
Written by Cho Mu-Hyun, Contributing Writer

A Samsung executive in charge of its virtual reality (VR) business has said if the opportunity arises the firm will look to expand it.

"The point in the beginning for starting the virtual reality business was to increase the competiveness of smartphones," said Koo Yun-mo of Samsung's mobile division at a press briefing in Seoul. "If the opportunity presents itself, we may expand it to other areas, besides just increasing smartphone competitiveness."

He said VR can be used to show potential investors how a factory under construction will look when completed; in a classroom to display various landmarks; or even treat acrophobia, by simulating low altitudes progressing to higher altitudes.

For now the priority is to build an ecosystem on the technology with the smartphone business by providing quality videos and a veritable platform.

Earlier, Koo had briefed chief executives of Samsung Group affiliates on the progress and future outlook of Samsung Electronics' VR business. CEOs of non-tech companies asked how they can use VR to enhance their respective businesses.

Koo declined to comment on the upcoming Galaxy S7; however, he said new information on VR will be revealed during the Galaxy Unpacked event at the MWC in Barcelona on February 21.

The South Korean tech giant will reportedly give free Gear VR for those preordering its S7 series.

Samsung began cooperating with VR firm Oculus, now owned by Facebook, in 2014. Since then, the world's largest smartphone maker has repeatedly stated that VR was an important future business for the firm.

The VR headset is used together with Samsung's flagship S and Note series, where the phone acts as the display. It was first used with the Note 4, launched in 2014.

It released Samsung Gear VR in November last year in South Korea.

In December, it released a beta web browser for the device.

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