LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS SHANGHAI: Virtual reality (VR) will replace the smartphone within four years, claimed Alvin Graylin, president of HTC China, as he took a swipe at rivals including Samsung in their efforts to develop the technology.

Graylin, speaking at the VR Summit this morning, reiterated his belief that VR will emerge as the next technology disruptor after the PC and the smartphone, and tipped it to be even more successful in the long run, with phones now starting to see stagnating sales after almost nine years of strong growth.

“VR will last longer than the smartphone cycle,” he said. “This doesn’t just add touch, it now adds everything into one device and your key senses are controlled in one interface. VR will be the last screen, and it will replace everything else.”

HTC, with its flagship Vive headset, has trumpeted VR throughout Mobile World Congress Shanghai, and started the event by launching a consortium, pulling together 28 of the world’s largest VC firms, dedicated to investing $10 billion in the future of VR.

Graylin said the attention must now turn to content specific to VR, with HTC already boasting 320 titles for Vive, which will “become a four-digit number very soon”.

He bullishly said that companies like Samsung, Sony and Oculus “are not even in the same league as us, both in terms of the quality of experience or the amount of content available”.

The future of movies
In the opening keynote of the summit, George Bloom, executive producer at CBS Digital, talked up the wider benefits of VR technology, including the use of 3D and virtual sets, that is transforming the way the movie and television industry is producing its content.

He said the industry must now push to “create enough of a compelling story for people to watch movies” through the technology.