One of the key figures behind Samsung’s Gear VR headset has left the company: Nick DiCarlo, whose official title at Samsung was VP immersive products strategy and product marketing, announced his departure from the company Friday on Twitter.
” For the last 3 (years), I’ve been inspired by the knowledge, creativity and talent of this community,” he wrote in a series of tweets. “Thank you for being so open and welcoming.”
Samsung confirmed the departure when contacted by Variety, with a spokesperson telling us that immersive products will be led by senior product management director Shoneel Kolhatkar going forward. “Nick DiCarlo was a valued, long-standing team member who made significant contributions during his tenure at Samsung. We thank him for his time and efforts, and wish him luck in his future endeavors,” the company said in a statement.
DiCarlo had worked in varying roles for Samsung since 2007. He was instrumental to the launch of the Gear VR headset, which has arguably been one of the most successful VR hardware products to date. The company has sold more than 5 million Gear VR headsets, and Gear VR users have watched more than 10 million hours of video with the device.
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At the same time, Samsung’s approach to VR has clearly evolved over time. At its inception, the Gear VR was very much driven by teams operating in the U.S. Since then, most of the product and development work was moved to South Korea, according to a source close to the company.
Samsung also moved beyond its partnership with Facebook’s Oculus, which is powering the Gear VR headset. The company announced a partnership with Google earlier this year, making the Galaxy S8 the first phone that operates with both Gear VR and Google’s Daydream VR headset. And this fall, Samsung unveiled a new PC-based VR headset powered by Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality software.