Qualcomm partners with Microsoft on custom chips for next-gen AR glasses

Qualcomm has announced collaboration with Microsoft to develop custom Snapdragon augmented reality (AR) chips. The new partnership was disclosed on Tuesday at Qualcomm’s CES 2022 keynote.

It should be noted that both companies are believers in the metaverse, a concept still in the making. The new collaboration means  power efficient lightweight AR glasses that will be able deliver rich and immersive experiences, and can be integrated with softwares like Microsoft Mesh and Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform.

Interestingly, this is not the first time Qualcomm has partnered with Microsoft to power AR headsets. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 850 chip already powers Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 headset that was launched in 2019. Qualcomm is a leader in Extended Reality (XR) space by creating Snapdragon XR2 that powers the Oculus Quest 2, created by Facebook technologies, a division of Meta platforms. Meanwhile, Microsoft and Qualcomm have previously collaborated together for laptops such as Surface Pro X.

“This collaboration reflects the next step in both companies’ shared commitment to XR and the metaverse,” said Hugo Swart, vice president and general manager of XR, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “Qualcomm Technologies’ core XR strategy has always been delivering the most cutting-edge technology, purpose-built XR chipsets and enabling the ecosystem with our software platforms and hardware reference designs. We are thrilled to work with Microsoft to help expand and scale the adoption of AR hardware and software across the entire industry.”

“With services like Microsoft Mesh, we are committed to delivering the safest and most comprehensive set of capabilities to power metaverses that blend the physical and digital worlds, ultimately delivering a shared sense of presence across devices. We look forward to working with Qualcomm Technologies to help the entire ecosystem unlock the promise of the metaverse,” added Rubén Caballero, corporate vice president Mixed Reality, Microsoft.

In other news, Apple analyst Ming Chi-Kuo of TF International Securities revealed Apple’s upcoming AR headset plans, which will support augmented reality and virtual reality, will likely come with an array of advanced sensors, and  will be powered by its M1 chips.

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