Samsung Reveals 4K ExynosVR Standalone Reference Design With Eye-Tracking

by Jamie Feltham • July 3rd, 2017

All-in-one VR headsets are set to become a reality by the end of the year, and Samsung has finally revealed its take on the concept.

The company showcased its new standalone reference design, the ExynosVR III , at the Mobile World Congress in Shanghai last week. You can see the first image of it above, which aksi confirms specs like an ARM Makli G71 MP20 GPY and a M2 Dual 2.5GHz CPU. It also suggested the headset can support 4K resolution at 75fps and Wide Quad High Definition (WQHD) at 90fps. The reference design looks like it’s armed with cameras on the front, likely used for inside-out positional tracking.

We actually caught sight of this surprising reveal by way of Visual Camp. This Korean company confirmed it is implementing eye-tracking into the reference design. We don’t know what Samsung’s plans for the device are just yet but given that this is a prototype for potential future products it’s very possible any consumer products that come out of this design sport eye-tracking too. Visual Camp notes that the design is also set to include hand-tracking, voice recognition and even facial expression recognition.

This headset really does sound like it’s all-in-one, then. That means you won’t need a computer or a mobile phone to run it; everything you need is housed inside the device itself. We’ve reached out to Samsung to ask for more information on the device.

Samsung is far from the only player in this scene; Intel and Qualcomm both have their own reference designs for standalone VR, and the latter has partnered with Google to release a series of headsets with WorldSense positional tracking from companies like HTC and Lenovo. Oculus also has its own prototype for a standalone device dubbed Santa Cruz. Standalone VR is soon to be a consumer reality, and we’re very much looking forward to seeing how Samsung fits in with that.

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  • Sean Lumly

    This is very encouraging news. But I cannot help to think that camera tracking will be ‘floaty’ at best, since all implementations seem to struggle with stability (including Apples AR Kit), something that tends to be more pronounced when in VR.

    But the specs are very promising! Eye tracking and high resolution are long-desired upgrades to existing technologies, and should look outstanding in VR.

    No sign of built-in headphones makes me weep a little.

    • Xilence

      Microsoft did a good job of it, so I’m certain that with Samsung’s budget then they should be fine, given they do polish and actually use some of their budget on the project.

      • Sean Lumly

        I certainly hope so! Even Hololens seems a bit floaty, but I haven’t tried it and have no way of telling if this is actually true. I do hope that you are right, because this all-in-one technology excites me greatly (@ 4K 75Hz no doubt)!

        And I can look past built-in headphones.. But don’t let anyone tell you that I’m not bitter… XD

        I expect that any ‘wobble’ would be most noticeable when right next to a static object (eg. a wall) as opposed to floating in the middle of a room, far from solid surfaces. On PSVR this is quite common. Games that are in narrow spaces (eg. cockpits, corridor traversal) the wobbly tracking is noticeable, but out in the open (say: 2m from a surface), the wobble is hard to detect..

        • Xilence

          Indeed, well from what people have said, the Microsoft Holographic VR platform is solid for the most part. No one has complained yet (during the demos at events). You’ll have your answer come August, right? Isn’t that when the first HMD’s are launching? I’m more concerned about 1. separate base stations to allow fully tracked controllers and a really good game lineup.

          I’m looking forward to the first AAA VRMMO to be honest with you. (SAO is all I can think about…)

          • For some reason it is SteamVR support that I am waiting on more than controllers. I know it is very likely one way or the other but I want to see it in action. It seems like controller support for SteamVR will grow with several 3D party options already out so I really want a simple headset to use with them. I think I’ll even be good with just a 6 DOF headset while I wait.

          • Xilence

            Well if Acer and the other manufacturers include SteamVR support (given that Windows Holographic will interface or if they have a separate driver layer) then maybe we can use the knuckles controllers? I’d love that because the open Windows platform is superior here, it’s like Logitech, Corsair, Razer, and literally anyone else all making keyboards. Nothing but options and improvements with new versions year-round. So if I can couple an HMD release schedule that’s like buying a monitor for your PC with SteamVR with fully tracked controllers then damn.

          • Robbie Cartwright

            Yeah, getting to a point here soon where you’ll likely be able to own a HMD from one manufacturer and controllers and trackers from another and still play SteamVR is a pretty exciting concept! Modular VR, as it would look. xD

          • Sean Lumly

            And this is why I think that SteamVR has such amazing potential — the openness of the platform and the hardware agnostic nature of the platform — exactly the same with PC games. I would love to see: a) more of this, and b) something similar for mobile VR hardware beyond the HMD and a simple non-tracked controller..

          • Robbie Cartwright

            100% agree with ya there.

          • That’s what we really need –standards that allow for full interoperability across equipment manufactured by multiple vendors. I’d love to be able to part together my dream VR rig using only the best of the best parts –and all of it work, seamlessly, upon initial installation. I like the idea of being able to do hacks on my VR system, but I don’t want to *have to* hack it just to get it to all work together; I’d rather it be as interoperable as anything that supports DirectX; but really, we need standards that aren’t vendor centric –meaning that DirectX itself isn’t the be-all-end-all solution; it’ll work great for Windows users, but I want to see a standard emerge that equally supports Windows, Linux, OSX, and even BSD; sort of like the Vulcan API, which is leveraged to eventually replace OpenGL. OpenVR should be more than a platform, it should be the name of the standard –not to say that the existing OpenVR properly represents what an Open VR standard should be… by no means… What I’ve seen from that camp looks interesting, but it has a **long** way to go before I’d take it seriously.

            In the meantime, SteamVR isn’t a bad centralizing compatibility standard, but we need to go much further in the next decade.

            By 2027, we should have something nailed down that eliminates the ‘will it work?’ question entirely.

          • Sean Lumly

            Things are happening so quickly (not that I’m complaining)!

            It’s a good time to be excited!

    • Marc

      AR Kit is a joke, and is not for mainstream AR.

  • towblerone

    This sounds too good to be true.

    • NooYawker

      Those devices where you put your smartphone in them basically works as a stand alone VR device. It pales in comparison to a desktop VR system but it works generally speaking.

      • Robert Cole

        I’m impressed with Daydream View on Pixel XL, actually really impressed considering how much VR time I’ve spent in Vive (and a little in Oculus and PSVR)? Clever optimization of hardware can really focus development, and Google seem to be throwing a tonne of effort/money in bringing good content to the platform. As always, content is king!

        More importantly, its demonstrated how effective even a relatively low powered device can be (ignoring tracking limitation, controller drift), its great to be “tetherless” (feel free) and its given me an insight into the near future, once we seen the next generation of SOC from Qualcomm, inside out tracking, hand controllers, all brought together.

        Magical times indeed….

    • Protowalker

      I don’t think it is. It’s going to be expensive for sure(less than a vive or rift, though), but I think that as a first-gen product it’ll be good. Eye tracking is a done problem, and since they have control over drivers and APIs they can handle foveated rendering to deal with the 4k screen. Hand gestures might be finicky but I think tracking will be good.

  • NooYawker

    Let’s hope all the companies mentioned reaches the finish line and released an actual product. VR seems like a hot market right now, let’s hope more of the public buys in.

  • wheeler

    Looking good! I can’t see myself bothering with anything standalone due to the limitations that will place on the experiences but glad to see the tech advancing.

    • G-man

      the limitations?

  • So, by the end of this year we’ll be flooded by standalone headsets like Alloy, Samsung, Daydream, etc…

    • Laurence Nairne

      Like phones there will be thousands of options, but only a few flagship ones worth buying. For a couple years I anticipate different ones being good for different types of experiences, and then ultimately they will all conform to a base set of features and differentiate themselves on arbitrary numbers (60 gazillion pixels in each eyeball and 9,000 frames per seconds) and outward appearance.

  • Cartoon Captain Kirk

    Shut up and take my gold-pressed latinum.

  • REP

    I just want a Steam VR compatible 4k headset.

    • JustA Name

      pimax 4k

      • Alorwin

        Is shit at 60fps.

        • Evgany

          I tried it. It is indeed very crappy at 60hz. Also the 4k is a lie. It’s not.

          • Sven Presseisen

            oh it is 4k, dont mind my facebook picture. When a headset is 4k it means it has 2k lenses making it 4k. So 8k would have 4k in each lense

          • G-man

            thats not even the issue, it does have a 4k screen. it cant do anywhere near 4k resolution at a decent fps though because of the limits of hdmi 1.4. so its got the benefit of less screen door effect and “higher resolution” panel, but in terms of the rendered image you see it’s not as good as hdmi 2.0 headset which can do supersampling, and its lower fps. the 8k is two 4k screens because it is ultra wide fov, two 4k screens side by side length ways.

      • Buddydudeguy

        Garbage 60hz and no positional tracking. People need to stop even mentioning that steaming turd.

      • Hmm i think it work.

      • Kev

        Pimax still not good at all for really anything but watching movies. For watching movies it is indeed awesome.

  • polysix

    standalone is DOA for many years. It’s a cash in.

    • No Spam

      Don’t confuse “standalone” with “mobile phone” VR. Imagine building a dedicated, integrated, untethered VR HMD. You don’t need the phone’s cellular radios, antennae, external ports, etc., and the parts can be spread across the entire HMD form factor (instead of crammed into a single phone-sized unit). Then, the battery (and maybe storage) can be on a belt clip to mitigate weight and heat problems. Each component can be optimized for VR (instead of a multi-function phone). A generic PC, Mac, or laptop could be external storage with games and apps swapped in via a temporary USB cable (like with iTunes/iPhone) or via wifi.

      You get a lot more horsepower potential than a GearVR/Daydream hybrid unit without the wires of desktop VR. It won’t be full PC power, but the benefits of “use anywhere,” “no gaming PC cost required,” and “I don’t need to take my phone out of its case to use VR” could be enough to have real value.

      I don’t think that’s a cash in (or DOA) at all. Seems like a reasonable path to consumer VR.

      • polysix

        I confused nothing. thanks.

        • G-man

          well considering any form of standalone thats more than a phone in a plastic case doesnt exist yet you are either confused or you are predicting what will happen with products that dont exist yet.

          • John Miller

            Its a cash grab he is correct you can barely do 100 fps on a gtx980 ti you are not getting decent VR at 4k for 5 years easy

          • G-man

            why not? if it has inside out tracking, controller tracking, eye tracking cameras, foveated rendering, low enough poly settings, low detail environments that are still fun games, they will run at 4k, even on a mobile gpu. dont know if the samsung has eye tracking but the new snapdragon 835 soc has those capability already. including 4k 10bit hdr screens.

            up until now mobile/standalone vr headsets have been botched together things or nothing more than phones in a case. we dont know how its going to turn out with these new products designed from the ground up to be vr headsets. so i dont really get what you mean by cash grab? you think these arent going to be good? based on what info?

          • G-man

            yeah thats what i thought.

  • impurekind

    I think these first-gen standalone VR headsets are gonna be pretty meh for 6DoF tracking, particularly tracking any kind of hand controllers. And God knows what the battery life it gonna be like.

  • tommet

    They cant even ensure compatibility between gearVR and the S8+. Gimme a break.

  • David Frost

    I don’t believe that claim of 4K VR at 75fps on a chipset that’s derived from smartphone tech. I can’t see how that’s possible in 2017. That’s 5 years away surely.

    • daveinpublic

      They can do it with foveated rendering, which is what the included eye tracking is for, and also the graphics won’t be as good

      • G-man

        exactly, make the graphics more simple and you can do whatever resolution you want. within reason.