Qualcomm Focuses on A/V and AI for New XR Chip Platform

Qualcomm Technologies has officially launched its first comprehensive AR and VR chip platform. Announced just as this year’s Augmented World Expo is getting underway, the offering is dubbed the “Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 Platform”, encompassing AR and VR into the broader category of “Extended Reality”.

In a statement announcing the platform, Qualcomm emphasized the sophistication of its multimedia capabilities, highlighting its support for 4K video at 60 frames per second and high-fidelity audio, as well as a “head-related transfer functions” system that lets “users’ ears to synthesize binaural sound that feels like it comes from a specific point in space.” Qualcomm also noted XR1’s “three- and six-degrees of freedom (3DoF, 6DoF) head tracking and controller capabilities for XR devices,” and its support for always-on voice assistance.

But in keeping with recent themes, Qualcomm was also keen to note that the XR1 platform includes its Qualcomm AI Engine “for on-device processing.” This focus is no surprise after Qualcomm’s announcements last week that it was launching an ambitious new AI research unit, and teaming up with Baidu to focus on the development of enhanced on-device AI systems. In announcing the XR1 platform, the company asserted that its AI technology “provides customers the ability to process AI-use cases and run high performing, power efficient machine learning based computer vision algorithms that can help with key AR use cases like better pose prediction, object classification, etc.”

And Qualcomm says OEMs are already on board, with Meta, VIVE, Vuzix, and Picoare currently working on devices based on the XR1 chip platform. More could join the ecosystem soon as Qualcomm promotes the new platform during this week’s AWE USE 2018 event in Santa Clara, California, which runs from May 30th to June 1st.