Qualcomm and Microsoft are teaming up to develop a new custom Snapdragon augmented reality chip that will power future AR glasses within Microsoft’s ecosystems. The new partnership was announced during Qualcomm’s CES 2022 keynote.
“We are announcing that we are developing an augmented reality Snapdragon chip customized for next-generation, energy-efficient and super-lightweight AR glasses for the Microsoft ecosystem,” said Cristiano Amon, CEO of Qualcomm. “And we are integrating software from both companies into this chip platform: the Microsoft Mesh platform and the recently announced Qualcomm Snapdragon Spaces XR development platform. Snapdragon Spaces will be fully integrated with Microsoft Mesh, and this platform will be available for next-generation lightweight eyewear. “
The partnership is not too surprising: Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 850 chip is already powering Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 headset from 2019. And Qualcomm has only increased its focus and development of more specifically focused chipsets. AR and VR, including the Snapdragon XR2 that powers the Oculus Quest 2. Microsoft and Qualcomm have also worked together on custom chips in the past, like the Surface Pro X’s SQ1 and SQ2 custom processors.
Of particular note is the inclusion of support for both Microsoft Mesh and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Spaces XR platform. Both platforms offer interesting mixed reality use cases that span multiple devices. Mesh already has a cross-platform VR / AR system for connecting between virtual reality headsets, tablets, smartphones and PCs, while Spaces aims to specifically integrate Qualcomm-powered smartphones as a ‘second display’ for mixed reality experiences. And given that Qualcomm specifically highlighted the upcoming chip collaboration as being focused on ultra-light augmented reality glasses, it seems clear that both companies have big ambitions to integrate future projects into a larger, connected digital world. .