Qualcomm: VR reference platform switches to Snapdragon 835

Qualcomm has updated its own reference platform for stand-alone VR glasses on the new SoC Snapdragon 835.

Qualcomm VR

On this basis, the system is also to be delivered to developers in the second quarter of 2017. Qualcomm is thus in direct competition with Intel’s Project Alloy.

Without cable and external tracking

Oculus Rift and HTC Vive hang on the cable, only for the Vive with HoloLens, meanwhile a paid accessory, the wireless data to the glasses funks. No way around leads with both currently still around the external tracking, which works with HTC with laser and with Oculus with infrared cameras; Without help, the VR glasses are not aware of their position in the room.

Eliminating the need for cables and external tracking is a cost-cutting approach and significantly reduces the complexity of setting up and managing the system.

All-in-one glasses should help VR to break through

In addition to Intel with Project Alloy based on Kaby Lake or, in the broadest sense, Microsoft with HoloLens , Qualcomm also works on VR glasses that are autonomous and independent from an external source such as a PC or a console.

The calculations are done directly on the glasses, in the latest iteration with the Snapdragon 835. It delivers the contents for the 2.560 × 1.440 pixel AMOLED display. Cameras allow the determination of the position in the room without external tools.

  • 90 Hz AMOLED display with 2.560 × 1.440 pixel resolution
  • 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM and 64GB of flash memory
  • 6DoF tracking by IMU and two black and white cameras with 1.280 × 800 pixel resolution
  • Eye tracking by two black and white VGA cameras
  • Connections: WLAN, Bluetooth, USB Type C for charging
  • Trackpad to the right of the headset to enter

Qualcomm starts its own affiliate program

Like Intel, Qualcomm will not produce and sell the glasses itself but will license the reference model to interested partners, who can develop their own products on this basis. In order to promote the development of new VR glasses, Qualcomm has initiated the HMD Accelerator Program.

The program is designed to help participating partners reduce development and production costs by applying Qualcomm’s standardized technology and manufacturing processes. Companies that want to adopt the reference model without modification can produce it in the production facilities of the Qualcomm partners GoerTek and Thunder come.

Developer kits are already available for the second quarter of 2017 onwards. Information on the price is not yet available. Intel wants to deliver development versions of Project Alloy for 599 to 899 USD.

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