Qualcomm has announced its next-generation Snapdragon XR2+ Gen 2 chip for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) headsets. The new chip promises significant improvements in performance and visual fidelity that could fuel a new wave of advanced extended reality devices.
Key Details on the Snapdragon XR2+ Gen 2
The Snapdragon XR2+ Gen 2 builds on Qualcomm’s previous XR chips and offers a number of enhancements:
- Up to 50% higher CPU and GPU performance compared to the prior XR2 model
- Support for displays up to 4000×4000 resolution per eye, enabling lifelike visuals
- Integrated AI processor for predictive head and eye tracking
- Dedicated computer vision processor for hand tracking and spatial mapping
- Multi-camera concurrency for passthrough video and other features
With these capabilities, the new chip aims to power a more immersive and interactive generation of XR headsets.
Spec Comparison: Snapdragon XR2 vs XR2+ Gen 2
|XR2+ Gen 2
|1x Prime + 3x Performance + 4x Efficiency
|1x Prime + 4x Performance + 4x Efficiency
|Up to 2560×1440 per eye
|Up to 4000×4000 per eye
Targeting High-End Consumer Headsets
The advanced features of the XR2+ Gen 2 make it well-suited for premium consumer VR/AR devices. This puts it in competition with chipsets like Apple’s M2 Pro processor used in its upcoming mixed reality headset.
However, Qualcomm says headsets powered by the XR2+ Gen 2 will be significantly more affordable than Apple’s offering, which could retail over $2,000. By enabling high-end XR experiences on less costly Android devices, Qualcomm aims to spur adoption among everyday consumers.
Early Adopters: Samsung and Google
Qualcomm has partnered with Samsung and Google as lead manufacturers that will be releasing headsets using the Snapdragon XR2+ Gen 2 in the near future.
Samsung is reportedly developing a VR headset under its “XR” brand that will rival functionality of Apple’s device at a lower price point. Google is also rumored to be working on an advanced AR headset incorporating the new Qualcomm chip.
These companies’ backing of the platform underscores Qualcomm’s strategy to power the majority of Android-based XR headsets, much like its dominance supplying processors for leading 5G phones.
What’s Next for the XR Market
Qualcomm’s launch comes amid surging interest in commercializing XR technology, especially for the consumer sector. All the major tech giants are investing heavily in this space to be at the forefront of the next computing platform:
- Apple has its long-awaited mixed reality headset on tap later this year
- Meta is prepping its high-end Project Cambria VR/AR hybrid
- Microsoft continues updating its HoloLens with each generation
Against this backdrop, Qualcomm’s upgraded chipset aims to prevent Apple and others from gaining too much of a competitive lead. And by enabling more affordable devices, Qualcomm could help make sophisticated XR hardware accessible to the average consumer sooner than later.
So while still in early days, Qualcomm’s latest offering provides a glimpse of the advanced capabilities expected to define the next era of immersive computing. The XR landscape should continue to heat up as suppliers and device-makers jockey to shape the foundation for how we could interact with virtual and augmented worlds.
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