Windows 10: Samsung's HMD Odyssey is the fancy Windows Mixed Reality headset

Samsung now occupies the premium end of Microsoft's Mixed Reality headset lineup.

Apple may just give augmented reality apps a boost with new iPhones, iOS 11 Apple has been quietly showing off ARKit apps and as its new iPhones launch the company will instantly add millions of new AR-capable devices to the field. Now there is Android and Google has a developer army, but the fragmentation of the mobile operating system and device diversity means it can't flip a switch on AR adoption. Apple has that switch. Rest assured that as Apple talks hardware specs, dual cameras and snazzy new iPhones for the 10th anniversary of the device the company also has an eye on killer apps. Why will Apple give AR a boost? First, the company has a unified base so it can enable devices with an OS update and device launch. Developers know they make money with Apple and the customer base monetizes well. Developers who were early to the AR and VR bandwagon haven't profited. AR has a big business use case and Apple dominates in the mobile enterprise. As a result, look for AR apps from the likes of Ikea on the consumer side and companies like IBM, SAP and Accenture on the business side. There are multiple industries that could make good use of AR. Oracle is already looking to integrate it into its apps.

Video: Apple may just have given augmented reality apps a boost

Samsung has unveiled the HMD Odyssey, a headset that claims the high end of Microsoft's Windows 10 Mixed Reality platform.

Samsung's $499 headset is available for pre-order immediately in the US from either Samsung or the Microsoft Store and will be ready to ship to customers on November 10.

It ships shortly after Microsoft's October 17 release of the Fall Creators Update, which brings support for Windows Mixed Reality.

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The HMD Odyssey fills out the top end of Mixed Reality headsets from Microsoft partners Acer, Dell, HP, and Lenovo, which start at $399.

At $499, Samsung's headset costs the same as Oculus Rift, and similarly comes with two controllers rather than them being sold separately.

Samsung's headset stands out from the pack with its dual 3.5-inch AMOLED displays and a per-eye resolution of 1,440 x 1,600 pixels with a refresh rate up to 90Hz.

Rival headsets come with the standard 1,440x1,440 pixels per eye and LCD panels. For comparison, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive offer 1,080x1,200 pixels per eye.

Samsung's headset has a 100-degree field of view and, like the Oculus Rift, comes with built-in headphones, in Samsung's case from AKG. The built-in headphones are convenient and mean fewer cords to be tangled up in.

CNET had a brief hands-on with the headset and notes that Samsung opted against the flip-up visors present on other Mixed Reality headsets. It's designed it with extra padding on the cheek-fittings, ensuring users don't need to clamp it as tight around the head.

One advantage of the Mixed Reality lineup over HTC Vive and Oculus Rift is that the built-in camera means users don't need to mount base stations around the home. However, how well this inside-out positioning works in practice remains to be seen.

The HMD Odyssey will also be available in China, Korea, Brazil and Hong Kong, according to Samsung.


Samsung's HMD Odyssey headset stands out from the pack with its dual 3.5-inch AMOLED displays.

Image: Microsoft/Samsung

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