Qualcomm develops 5G chipset for headsets and works with Niantic on AR glasses

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Qualcomm has announced its Snapdragon XR2 virtual reality and augmented reality platform. Headsets and glasses with the chips must support 5G, among other things, next year. The company is working with Niantic Labs on a reference design of AR glasses.

Compared to the current XR platform, the Snapdragon XR2 chipset offers, among other things, twice as powerful CPU and GPU performance, in addition to support for higher video bandwidth and higher resolutions, Qualcomm claims, which clarifies that XR stands for eXtendedReality. Headsets with XR2 can be linked with up to seven cameras and there is a special processor for computer vision, or the ‘understanding’ of images.

The platform can handle a resolution of up to 3k by 3k per eye at 90fps, it claims, and show 360-degree images of 8k at 60fps streaming or locally. Qualcomm has high hopes for VR and AR as the mobile computing platforms of the future, but there are still hurdles to overcome and the technology is still in its infancy. The HDR display, motion tracking and refresh rate must be improved, among other things, with the company aiming for 120Hz per eye as far as the latter is concerned.

Qualcomm is working on a reference platform for smart glasses, which the company is doing with Niantic Labs, maker of Ingress, Pokémon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. In addition to the hardware, they develop the software and network components. Since it is a reference platform, third parties can use this to base their AR glasses on in the future. Niantic promises to make the outcome available to developers through its Niantic Creator Program. Details about the collaboration or the AR glasses have not been disclosed. Qualcomm did show a concept of AR glasses for emergency services.

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