IDC Japan recently announced that in the first quarter, the sales of augmented reality and virtual reality headsets have increased by 70%. VR headset shipment rose 70% to 2.242 million units while AR devices gained 77% to 38,000 units. The market share of the companies are as follows: Samsung Electronics captured 22%, followed by Sony 19%, HTC from Taiwan 9%. While in the AR devices - Microsoft took 28%, Epson 19% and Intel 16%. In the Japanese market, Epson took 75% of total AR headset shipments and Sony 84% of VR devices' total units. IDC Japan forecasts that the sale of AR & VR headset in 2021 will grow 10x as compared to that in 2016, mainly due to rapid growth of VR terminals with reduced retail prices, focussed on consumer use. The company estimates that VR terminals will take up 73% of the VR and AR combined market. On the other hand, the IDC predicts that the AR sets will be used mainly by business sectors, such as the healthcare, manufacture and product design segments. The business-use AR devices took 68% of all AR shipments in 2016, which will be 83.3% in 2021. In the Japanese market, the combined shipments will be 1.05 million units in 2021 to grow nearly 9 times from about 120,000 units in 2016.
GoPro recently announced that the first shipment of the Fusion Pilot Cameras has been sent, exclusively to ten brands. The company has selected nine organizations and one travel vlogger to be the first to receive GoPro's spherical camera. This list includes Golden State Warriors, USA TODAY NETWORK, FOX Sports, AccuWeather, Digital Domain, Getty Images, Legend 3D Inc., Rapid VR, RYOT, and travel vlogger Louis Cole (FunForLouis). The company started accepting applications from content professionals in the month of April. GoPro received applications from numerous brands, agencies and talented content creators, seeking to be among the first to use GoPro's new 5.2K spherical camera as part of a pilot program. GoPro has initiated this programme to produce inspiring content that demonstrates the creative potential of Fusion. GoPro has selected its first ten pilot partners from a pool of more than 20,000 applicants. The application process for the GoPro Fusion Pilot Program remains open, and the company expects to add more pilot partners to the program in the coming year. A limited commercial release of Fusion is expected by the end of 2017. GoPro will provide the details on pricing and other technical specifications at Fusion's launch.
Nikon Corp. will be boosting the production of its of display panels for smartphones and televisions in its factories in Japan. The company has decided to thrust the production as its competition in China and other Asian countries are aggressively investing in the development of high resolution LCD panels and OLED panels. The company has established additional production facilities in the premise of its existing . factories located in Tochigi and Miyagi Prefectures. Nikon has already increased the production capacity for its small-size panels (for smartphone) by 1.5x over those of 2015 and the production is being carried out at full swing. For large panels (for televisions), Nikon will increase the production 2x by 2018. Nikon currently enjoys about 65 percent of the world's share in panel manufacturing equipment. Nikon utilises the 10th generation size plates for manufacturing the large-format panels. Panel producers, Chinese companies in particular, are planning to build large-panel production factories, for which they are aggressively approaching the government to grant them subsidiaries.