Qualcomm has launched two new chip platforms for Meta’s Meta Quest 3 virtual reality headset and its Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses.
The Qualcomm platforms, Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 and Snapdragon AR1 Gen 1, serve as the brains of the VR, AR and mixed reality technologies announced today at the Meta Connect event in Menlo Park, California.
The platforms were developed in collaboration with Meta and are set to debut commercially on Meta devices in 2023, said Hugo Swart, general manage of the XR business at Qualcomm, in a press briefing.
“The big announcement is that we have not only one, but we have two platforms to announce for VR and mixed reality,” he said.
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Swart said in a press briefing that he helped start the business in 2015 and the division has made a lot of progress in that time, and now it’s time to revolutionize spatial computing. To date, Qualcomm has enabled more than 80 XR products.
“It’s about taking spatial computing and XR to the next level,” he said. “It’s really a remarkable leadership story with our XR foundational technology and foundational products, enabling the market to really grow.”
The market has spread from consumers in gaming, fitness and social and moved on to the enterprise, training and medical markets.
“On the enterprise side, we see a lot of case studies and successes, with things like even a desktop, remote assist, instructions, and so forth,” Swart said.
The Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 Platform is designed to provide a premium MR and VR experience in a single chip architecture. It offers 2.5 times better graphics processing unit (GPU) performance, resulting in richer visuals with enhanced clarity, textures, and colors.
The platform supports resolutions of up to 3K per eye, ensuring high-fidelity visuals. It also features improved positional tracking with eight times better on-device AI, enabling more precise and natural interactions.
Qualcomm said users will be able to seamlessly transition between MR and VR experiences, blending virtual content with their physical surroundings. One of the big features of the Meta Quest 3 is color passthrough video that lets you see 3D overlays on the outside world even while you wear the headset.
The platform also offers lag-free XR experiences and split rendering optimizations, as well as Qualcomm FastConnect Wi-Fi 6E/7 Platform and Snapdragon Sound Technology Suite for immersive audio.
The pillars of the platform include the visual experience, graphics and multimedia leading to groundbreaking immersion. Another pillar is seamless interaction between the digital environment and physical environment with mixed reality. And the third pillar is power efficiency, so the company can make gains in GPU performance as well as power consumption.
The new platform has improvements in user tracking and full-body tracking. It also has seamless connectivity for Wi-Fi 7 and Wi-Fi 6 at lower power rates.
Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses
Meta also announced a new set of Meta-made smart glasses using the Ray-Ban brand. For this product, Meta developed the Snapdragon AR1 Gen 1 Platform.
The platform is specifically designed for sleek and lightweight smart glasses. It includes a premium dual ISP for professional-quality camera photos and videos captured from a first-person perspective. Users can capture, share, or live-stream moments hands-free directly from the glasses.
The platform also features powerful on-device AI for image and audio quality enhancement, visual search, and real-time translation capabilities. It supports binocular displays, providing a comfortable and convenient visual heads-up display for content consumption. The FastConnect 7800 Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.3 Platform offer fast connectivity and seamless content sharing.
Both platforms will debut on Meta devices, including the Meta Quest 3 powered by Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 Platform and Ray-Ban Stories powered by Snapdragon AR1 Platform.
Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, Meta’s CTO and head of Reality Labs, said in a statement that the collaboration between Meta and Qualcomm was important in developing future computing platforms for mixed reality and smart glasses.
He highlighted their joint efforts in delivering breakthroughs in power, performance, and AI. Hugo Swart, general manager of XR at Qualcomm, emphasized the company’s commitment to building innovative XR technology and solutions that will transform spatial computing. Swart stated that the Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 and Snapdragon AR1 Platforms are designed to unlock affordable all-in-one XR devices and smart glasses for users worldwide.
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