Qualcomm has been in innovative, industry changing, mood over the last couple of years. From releasing the world’s first 802.11ax last February and promising to launch 5G in 2019, to collaborating with Microsoft on Windows 10 on ARM. The chip giant is at is again this week with a new virtual/mixed reality Xtended Reality (XR) platform.
Virtual reality is hardly new on mobile devices. Several companies have ran with the torch, including industry leaders like Apple and Samsung. However, running high-quality VR and mixed reality requires powerful processing.
Enter the Snapdragon 845 and the Xtended Reality platform. The upcoming mobile processor flagship will be very powerful and will be the next wave of Windows 10 on ARM. It will also take mobile reality warping to the next level by moving to virtual reality.
Not just for smartphones, the Snapdragon 845 will also be able to function directly in a VR headset. Previous device like Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and VR efforts from Samsung and Sony, all needed a connection with a base device. Whether it was a PC, smartphone, or console, VR was somewhat limited.
Oculus and HTC have already addressed this with their Oculus GO and Vive Focus, a pair of headsets that run independently. Headsets powered by the Snapdragon 845 will be the same, but with one advantage… the processor. New devices shipping with the 845 should be ahead of the Oculus GO and Vive Focus in terms of processing power.
Paired with an Adreno 630, the Snapdragon 845 will give developers a platform to create more dynamic solutions. Virtual worlds can be more detailed, more expansive, have heightened interactivity, and look better. Qualcomm says Xtended Reality will also include six degrees of freedom (6DoF).
A device using the processor will simultaneously map, localize and detect objects (SLAM) in the real environment so users can avoid them. When Qualcomm launched the 845 last year, the company promised 30% improvement in graphics performance. That boost should transfer better to VR than any other area.
Devices will be able to provide up to four million pixels per eye, or 2K resolution in simpler terms. Like the company usually does, it has built a reference hardware. The image you see above will not be released, but gives OEMs an idea of what can be created.
Speaking to VentureBeat, Hugo Swart, head of the XR division at Qualcomm, explained the company’s plans for the project:
“The reference design is a key component that takes our latest chips and enables software features. One of our key goals with VR is to enable good VR for the masses. We know we can’t do that with a $2,000 (PC-focused) setup. We want you to have the same level of freedom that you see in a PC system, with no cables.”