One of the biggest Chinese smartphone makers is getting serious about entering the virtual and augmented reality markets. Huawei has hired Steve LaVelle, the former Chief Scientist at Oculus, to fill a similar role at the company.
LaVelle worked at Oculus from 2012 until January 2015. During that time, he helped to co-develop the Oculus SDK that are used by developers to make games and apps for the Oculus Rift headset, along with developing other parts of that hardware and software. He left to take a position at the professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
In a statement about his new gig at Huawei, LaVelle said:
Our visions of the future closely align, which is that a holistic approach to VR/AR research and product development is absolutely necessary, and must tightly integrate hardware, software, human perception, and neuroscience
Huawei launched its own smartphone-based VR headset in 2016, This week, as part of CES 2017, the company revealed that two of its smartphones, the Mate 9 Pro and the Porsche Design Mate 9, will add support for Google’s Daydream VR platform in the future. Furthermore, the company will release another smartphone VR headset that will be compatible with Daydream apps. Finally, Huawei says it will launch a smartphone in 2017 that will support Google’s Tango AR camera technology.
The hiring of LaVelle shows that Huawei wants to invest more in launching new VR and AR products and technology, and getting one of the biggest experts in the field should be a huge help in achieving those goals.