- Snapdragon XR1: an affordable processor to democratize VR / AR
In the market of Android smartphone processors, Qualcomm reigns supreme. Apart from a few manufacturers like Samsung and Huawei who manufacture their own chips, almost all multifunction mobiles on the market are equipped with a Snapdragon processor.
Likewise, most standalone VR / AR headsets that exist today have a Snapdragon 821 or 835 chip, originally designed for smartphones. However, Qualcomm decided to extend its hold on this market emerging by manufacturing processors entirely dedicated to virtual and augmented reality headsets.
As part of a press conference organized in Silicon Valley, Qualcomm has just unveiled the Snapdragon XR1. this is his first "XR platform" (AR, VR, MR). This component is intended for entry-level headsets, like the Oculus Go, rather than high-end devices like the Vive Focus.
Snapdragon XR1: an affordable processor to democratize VR / AR
Its low cost will allow companies to create affordable helmets, in order to democratize XR technologies. The chip integrates Qualcomm's heterogeneous architecture, bringing together an ARM CPU, a vector processor, a GPU and the firm's AI Engine artificial intelligence engine. The platform will offer Machine Learning features, an SDK, and Qualcomm's connectivity and security technologies.
Important point: the Snapdragon XR1 will support 3DOF tracking, but also 6DOF tracking for the hands and heads of users. Currently, 6DOF tracking is a feature that is sorely lacking in controllers of stand-alone headsets like the Oculus Go, the Lenovo Mirage Solo or the HTC Vive Focus.
Still according to Qualcomm, manufacturers HTC, Pico and Vuzix have already started to develop headsets based on the XR1 chip. These products will likely be announced by the end of 2018. It remains to be seen whether Qualcomm also plans to develop a processor for high-end stand-alone headsets.