Samsung unveils its HMD Odyssey virtual reality headset.

By Jonathan Vanian
October 3, 2017
October 02, 2017

There’s a new Samsung virtual reality headset on the market.

The consumer technology giant on Tuesday unveiled the Samsung HMD Odyssey virtual reality headset that’s powered by a VR version of Microsoft’s Windows operating system. The headset costs $500 and will ship on November 6. The HMD Odyssey will also come with motion controllers.

Samsung revealed the new headset in San Francisco during Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality media event in San Francisco. Mixed reality is a catchall for Microsoft’s efforts to develop both VR and augmented reality technologies.

With virtual reality, people put on headsets to completely immerse themselves in digital worlds. In augmented reality, people can either use devices like the Microsoft HoloLens headset or their smartphones to see digital images overlaid onto the real world.

Samsung is the latest company to unveil a VR headset that runs on Microsoft’s Windows operating system. Other headsets include the Acer Windows Mixed Reality Headset, the Dell Visor, the HP Inc. hpq Windows Mixed Reality Headset, and the Lenovo Explorer.

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Samsung’s debut of its own VR headset is noteworthy considering the company has been pushing its Gear VR headset for a couple of years. Whereas the Gear VR requires certain Android-powered smartphones to operate, the new HMD Odyssey headset is powered by a personal computer, making it more powerful and able to display better visuals.

The new HMD Odyssey headset also makes Samsung as a direct rival to Facebook fb and its Oculus Rift VR headset. At the same time, both Samsung and Facebook are partners on virtual reality, with Oculus supplying the underlying software for the Gear VR while Samsung providing the hardware.

Also at the event on Tuesday, Microsoft said it had acquired the small VR production startup AltspaceVR for an undisclosed amount. AltspaceVR, which produced VR events like one in which people talk to each other while watching a 360-degree live stream of the 2016 presidential debates, struggled to make a profitable business and earlier this summer said it had run out of funding.

 

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