Qualcomm has launched an accelerator to help hardware companies develop head-mounted displays for virtual reality.

The company has targeted its Snapdragon 835 mobile chip at virtual reality headsets and currently has four customers with early 820-based designs in the market. An additional five 820 designs are coming in 2017. Now, to further stoke the market, the company is launching the Qualcomm Head Mounted Display (HDM) Accelerator Program. Clearly, from Qualcomm’s perspective, spreading its bets around and encouraging the VR ecosystem could help the fledgling market grow.

The goal of the accelerator program is to help manufacturers increase the speed with which they are able to create and ship new products, while also reducing their engineering costs. The program is essentially designed as a catalyst for hardware manufacturers who are creating a VR HMD of their own.

Qualcomm said it is talking with additional vendors about making headsets with the more advanced, low-power Snapdragon 835 mobile platform.


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Participating startups can make use of a Qualcomm reference design with a Snapdragon 835 VR headset, including schematics and other design files. Two hardware manufacturers, Thundercomm and GoerTek, are attached to the program. Validated component and technology suppliers include Leap Motion and SMI, among others.

Manufacturers will have access to the reference design products and can choose from a pre-qualified set of components. They will also have access to technology partners who are collaborating closely with Qualcomm and who have validated software ready to support the components. Plus, manufacturers will be able to make use of pre-defined quality metrics and methods of testing, as well as accessories and more.

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