This Wednesday, Qualcomm debuted Snapdragon AR2, an augmented reality (AR) development solution that helps immersive hardware and software designers overcome common hurdles.
Qualcomm purpose-built its latest component platform for AR products. The solution boasts impressive specifications that significantly improve the performance of AR applications on smart glasses. This includes a 4nm process node, 50 percent less power consumption than legacy models, and a Hexagon Tensor Processor for hand and eye tracking.
To mark the launch and showcase the power of Snapdragon AR2, Qualcomm chose various technology partners with a range of experience in immersive technologies to leverage the new platform for extended reality (XR) applications.
Qualcomm picked significant XR marketplace partners, including Lenovo, Nreal, Pico, Niantic, Vuzix, and Rokid. The chosen immersive firms represent numerous use cases across various vertical markets like healthcare, construction, and marketing.
For example, Snapdragon AR2 partner Lenovo is developing the ThinkReality VRX (virtual reality) headset that enhances enterprise training. The product solves the common workplace problem of repurposing consumer-grade hardware for business usage and distributing poorly optimised headsets across a business.
In October, Jason McGuigan, the Head of Commercial VR for Lenovo, explained that an enterprise-grade XR solution must work appropriately with an enterprise IT department, therefore, requiring a validated and secure device like the ThinkReality VRX.
The device utilises Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Spaces development platform for integrating immersive applications. The ThinkReality VRX device also contains powerful specs such as an Android 12 Operating System, 12 GB RAM, 128 GB storage, 2280 x 2280 pixels per eye, 95° FoV, 70/90Hz refresh rates, and 6 degrees of freedom.
Immersive Hardware Experts
On the other hand, Nreal is successfully distributing its AR-lite media streaming hardware worldwide. The firm sells its Air and Light smart glasses for immersive streaming and experiences.
The consumer-grade hardware allows users to view media on immersive screens up to 102 inches in size. NReal worked with major broadcasting and telecommunication firms like BT Sport and Orange to provide viewers at home with immersive and interactive streams of this year’s Tour de France and Premier League.
Qualcomm’s launch partner Pico Interactive is mixing up the immersive hardware marketplace with the fourth iteration of its VR headset. The Pico 4 device comes at a lower price than Meta’s highly-anticipated Quest Pro headset with similar technical specifications.
Despite promising hardware and software, the ByteDance-owned manufacturer faces potential hurdles in the US. The TikTok parent firm has faced backlash from the FCC following alleged concerns over user privacy and data collection.
Snapdragon AR2 partners and Pokemon Go developers Niantic have gained massive traction since the success of its AR gaming experience. Following its international success, the firm is working on Lightship, an AR software development kit (SDK) for creating location-based immersive content on iOS and Android devices.
In addition, Vuzix is developing a rich AR smart glass product portfolio that enhances connectivity between dispersed workers in the utilities, automotive, healthcare, and manufacturing sectors. The firm also works with Westbase.io to expand its distribution goals to cover customers in Scandinavia, Benelux, the UK, and Ireland.
Immersive partners Rokid are also designing enterprise-grade smart glasses. The firm is building up to debut its sophomore AR device following the success of the Rokid Air smart glasses.
Other Tech Partners
Qualcomm is working with broader technology partners expressing interest in developing immersive solutions. Notably, Microsoft is joining Qualcomm’s list of launch partners.
Microsoft is a big player in the XR marketplace with its Hololens MR product portfolio. The firm is also developing Microsoft Mesh, an immersive collaboration service enabling workers to communicate using avatars in immersive environments.
In recent news, Microsoft teamed up with Meta to bring the Windows 365 suite to the Quest Pro and the Menlo Park-based firm’s Metaverse service Horizon. Hybrid employees can access Microsoft’s application within an immersive headset via the Horizon enterprise space Workrooms.
Additionally, Adobe is joining Qualcomm in the Snapdragon AR2 journey. Many immersive content creation tools exist within Adobe’s creative suite, enabling developers to design immersive applications and assets.
Adobe Creative Suite is also available on the Meta Quest hardware lineup. Meta debuted Substance 3D, a modelling software, on the Quest portfolio in October, enabling users to design Metaverse content without leaving a headset.
Other Qualcomm Snapdragon AR2 launch partners include Sharp, Honor, Motorola, and ZTE. Additionally, Qualcomm is actively running its Snapdragon XR Accelerator programme in collaboration with T-Mobile, which scales XR content and applications for various end-users.