Since 2016, VR / AR has been predicted to be "outbreaking", but it has not been rid of its identity as a niche technology. The main reasons are poor experience, high prices, and narrow applications. It can be said that 5G is a long-awaited opportunity for VR, and large bandwidth and low latency can greatly improve image quality and refresh rate. The real-time linkage between the cloud and the terminal will solve the problem of large-scale rendering, and lay the foundation for the XR terminal to reduce the computing unit, achieve lightweight and cost-effective. In the early morning of December 6, Beijing time, Qualcomm released the world ’s first 5G XR platform, the Snapdragon XR2, on the XR theme day of the Snapdragon Annual Technology Summit. By integrating XR, 5G, and AI capabilities, it empowers XR terminals in the 5G era. With the blessing of the 5G exclusive platform, can VR start the long-awaited turnaround?

Qualcomm is confident in XR's development prospects

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At the three-day annual Snapdragon Technology Summit, Qualcomm set aside a day to introduce XR products and solutions, reflecting Qualcomm's confidence and emphasis on XR technology. Hugo Swart, vice president of product management and XR business leader of Qualcomm, said that XR including VR, AR, and MR is the next-generation mobile computing platform. Qualcomm's research on VR / AR has been over ten years. Currently, XR equipped with Snapdragon chips There are more than thirty types of terminals. He said that XR has come into our lives and has played a role in many fields such as manufacturing, entertainment, gaming, health, education, industry, retail, and travel.

The application of XR is not limited to movies and games, it is entering the B-side. At the summit, Qualcomm, with its corporate partners such as Unity, Mitchell Automotive Claims, Accenture, and Deutsche Telekom, demonstrated the support of the Snapdragon platform for enterprise-grade XR applications.

For example, Mitchell said on the spot that AR is playing a role in the safe driving and maintenance of cars. For example, Toyota uses AR to let the trailer driver see the road behind the vehicle body, and Mercedes-Benz uses AR situational awareness to detect the road environment when the vehicle turns. The AR technology has been applied to automobile inspections. Employees put on AR glasses, scan the car body with a camera to find problems, and then automatically project maintenance steps to the AR glasses according to the problems, improving maintenance efficiency. Deutsche Telekom has developed AR Advisor, which allows employees to change from "doing their heads down" to "looking up and heads up", improving the efficiency of business operations.

"We want to emphasize that there are many opportunities for XR in the B-side and C-side market. Qualcomm provides horizontal platform technical support and has a good customer base in both areas, but there may be many good applications in the enterprise area. It's something we haven't noticed yet, so we made the highlights today. "Hugo Swart said.

XR2 has both 5G and AI capabilities

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In 2018, Qualcomm launched the first VR / AR dedicated chip platform XR1. The Snapdragon XR2 released a year later is not a small improvement over XR1. The data released on the site shows that compared to XR1, XR2 brings 2x CPU and GPU performance improvement, 4x video bandwidth improvement, 6x resolution improvement and 11x AI performance improvement.

It is worth noting that the Snapdragon XR2 platform supports seven parallel cameras, enabling tracking of the user's head, eyes, hands, expressions, body, environment, and controller. In addition, this platform is the first XR platform to support low-latency camera perspective, allowing users to observe, interact and create in the world of virtual and reality fusion when wearing VR equipment. In order to meet the needs of immersive XR experience, XR2 is customized and optimized for visual, interactive and audio technologies on top of basic AI and optional 5G connectivity support.

In terms of vision, XR2's GPU achieves 1.5 times the pixel fill rate and 3 times the texture rate. It has XR-exclusive features such as eye-focused visual focus rendering and enhanced variable-rate coloring that supports smoother refresh rates. It can work under heavy rendering load While keeping low power consumption. The display unit of the Snapdragon XR2 can support 3Kx3K monocular resolution at 90fps, and it is also the first 8K 360-degree video that supports 60fps in streaming and local playback. Custom chips specially developed for AR displays can help reduce overall system latency to enable immersive AR experiences.

In terms of interaction, XR2 tracks the user's head, lips and eyeballs based on a seven-way camera, and supports 26-point hand bone tracking, providing efficient scene understanding and 3D reconstruction.


In terms of audio, XR2 provides voice interaction to deepen immersion. The platform includes a custom, always-on, low-power DSP that supports hardware acceleration features such as voice activation and context detection, helping users to enter the digital world while also hearing real-world sounds.

Based on AI and 5G capabilities, XR2 can create a more realistic and high-quality experience by supporting the separated processing between the terminal and the edge cloud, thereby eliminating the constraints of cables or space on XR equipment.

XR2 will continue to support Chinese manufacturers

Although Qualcomm launched the XR1 platform in 2018, with the exception of big friends and 3Glasses, most VR equipment manufacturers do not carry XR1, but build chips based on Snapdragon 835, 845. Will XR2 repeat the situation of XR1 and cannot compete with its own mobile phone chip?

In this regard, Hugo Swart said in an interview with China Electronics News that Qualcomm divided XR into two market segments, one is the high-end market, which is the main market of XR1; the other is the top market, which is to choose Snapdragon. 835, 845 create a market for VR equipment. Chinese manufacturers such as iQiyi, Nreal, Pico, and Chuangchuang are all advanced players who develop VR equipment based on 835 and 845. He expected that players who had previously used Snapdragon 835, 845 will migrate to the XR2 platform. However, Qualcomm will continue to provide XR1 chips, because there are still manufacturers in China who are developing and designing their products based on XR1.

"Qualcomm's starting point for XR is to make the XR market first. The XR platform brings a wealth of opportunities to the entire ecosystem. I hope that besides hardware manufacturers, Internet companies dedicated to space computing and other fields can also participate and build an ecosystem together. To advance the construction of the XR platform and seize the opportunity of the XR platform. "Hugo Swart said.


Editor-in-Chief: Mary
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