Qualcomm’s XR1: First Chip Dedicated to AR and VR


Over the last couple of years, Qualcomm’s processors have end up in quite a number of AR and VR devices. However, none of those chips so far has been wholly dedicated to AR and VR standalone gadgets. Actually, they’ve just been remodeled phone accessories. XR1, Qualcomm’s first chip designed particularly for augmented and virtual reality devices is here to change the trend. XR1 is expected to make manufactures create entry-level versions of AR and VR devices quite cheaply. We’re likely to see such devices appearing late this year or early next year.

XR1 and Qualcomm’s Current Flagship Snapdragon 845

Although Qualcomm’s debut into the augmented and virtual reality chip game could be quite electrifying especially in the industry, XR1 isn’t all that exciting on its own. According to Qualcomm, its current leading phone processor, snapdragon 845 remains a better choice when it comes to AR/VR experiences. Indeed, XR1 is designed for simpler gadgets, rather meant for videos and passive involvements than actual gaming. Although XR1 doesn’t support free-moving 6DoF like the 845, it allows for tighter movements just like its 835 platform.

Fascinating Features

XR1 gadgets will feature “lean back and 360 viewing” of videos instead of “room scale tracking”. In addition, the devices will come with “simple controllers” instead of the hand-tracking abilities. However, the chip is still expected to allow for 4k displays at 60 fps, voice activation together with controllers that sense motion with six-degrees of freedom. Perhaps it will become really fascinating if Qualcomm resolves to design higher-end chips in the XR line. With dedicated hardware, the chip should be capable of supporting more powerful augmented and virtual reality-related features than when using a general-purpose chip. And, it seems Qualcomm is headed right there. However, they appear to have started on a low note just to assess whether the market is actually prepared for all these mixed reality headsets.