Standalone AR/VR headsets are finally ready to make a big leap forward

VentureBeat have reported on promising advances in the Mixed Reality Snapdragon XR2 headset by Qualcomm that has previously not been followed up on.

Key points in the article include:

  • In 2019, Qualcomm foreshadowed that XR2 was on the cusp of being adopted by AR/VR headset makers.
  • The Snapdragon XR2 and Niantic’s XR2-powered AR glasses were both announced by their respective companies without a product or timeline/imagery to go with them.
  • However, Geekbench 5 released results last week for the HTC Vive Focus model with the XR2, and its likely configuration matched with the specs.
  • Completed XR2-powered headsets will vary depending on the company despite Qualcomm providing the reference platforms and chipset.
  • Horwitz, the writer of the article, believes that the general trend will favour higer-resolution VR displays.
  • Pico’s high-resolution Neo 2 is powered by a Snapdragon 845, therefore Horwitz expects that XR2 headsets will surpass Pico’s quality – the new headsets will likely use 90Hz refresh rates, creating display speeds of PC standard, therefore reduced nausea.
  • Facebook’s Quest achieved complex visuals from the Snapdragon 835, and Qualcomm’s suggestion that the XR2 has twice as much GPU and CPU power as the 835 means that XR2-powered titles will rival previous visuals.
  • Since “current-generation” and “entry-level” are changeable, there is no way mobile-class XR2 headsets will entirely eliminate a demand for high-spec technology, however, the visual delta between tethered and untethered headsets will be less of a priority.
  • Snapdragon XR2’s Artificial Intelligence processing capabilities could also be a key factor in enhancing MR headset performance.
  • Although quantity does matter in regards to AI performance, as do quality and system-level engineering and software considerations making use of competencies.
  • AI can further impact MR headset performance via generating solutions for partly original problems, empowering computer opponents, enabling richer voice controls, and segmenting live visuals to blend with digital content.

The article concludes by acknowledging that nothing is currently certain in regards to release of XR headsets due to COVID-19, however, it appears that Snapdragon XR2 headsets will be in stores relatively soon.

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