May 02, 2017

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. - VR Update

005930 KS, 066570 KS
By James Kim
Samsung is expected to launch a new Gear VR running on an in-house Exynos CPU in 3Q17.

Supply chain sources said Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (005930 KS) is working on a model refresh of the Gear VR that could be launched with a Galaxy Note 8 smartphone in 3Q17. The new Gear could come with built-in display and run on Samsung’s in-house Exynos CPU. The current Gear VR is a pair of goggles that requires mounting Samsung's Galaxy S or Note phone for the display. The new Gear will likely have two internal built-in AMOLED screens, similar to HTC Corp.'s (2498 TT) VIVE, and come with a dedicated Exynos CPU for more advanced multimedia and control functions. Samsung’s current VR runs on a lower-power 32-bit MCU (microcontroller unit) by STMicroelectronics N.V.

In March, Samsung released a wireless controller to pair with the Gear VR, and sources expect 2Q17 shipments to reach around 1.2-1.3 million units, slightly higher than the 1.1 million units shipped in 1Q17 because of the launch of the Galaxy S8. Sources expect Samsung’s total VR shipments to reach around 5 million units in 2017, slightly lower than the 5.7 million units shipped in 2016.

LG Electronics Inc.’s (066570 KS) new VR, which was launched in March at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, will likely not go into production in 1H17, according to sources. At this stage, the device is still in prototype stage and LG is evaluating whether to release the device after the failure of the VR360 last year.

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