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Qualcomm unveils Snapdragon 845-powered reference VR headset with room-scale tracking

Qualcomm unveils Snapdragon 845-powered reference VR headset with room-scale tracking

Qualcomm Technologies has released a reference design for upcoming headsets.

"We continue to deliver new advancements in technologies for our customers to utilize as they aim to capitalize on the growing standalone and smartphone VR industry", said Hugo Swart, Head of Virtual and Augmented Reality Business Group, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. This system provides 30 percent faster graphics performance and 30 percent better power efficiency - something for which mobile devices running on batteries are constantly starved - compared with the previous chip generation with the Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform.

Qualcomm unveils Snapdragon 845-powered reference VR headset with room-scale tracking
Qualcomm unveils Snapdragon 845-powered reference VR headset with room-scale tracking

QUALCOMM WANTS TO STUFF its chips into more virtual reality (VR) kit and it has shown off a reference design for a Snapdragon 845 Mobile VR headset. Finally, the newer Mobile VR platform supports 3D audio and displays two 2400 x 2400 resolution displays at 120 frames per second, twice as much than existing headsets.

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 SoC also offers additional performance gains that designers can enable with eye tracking hardware. Since the human eye can discern high detail only in a very narrow area at the very center of the gaze, this technique can be used to ease rendering power needs. By providing 6DOF with cameras and foveated rendering to reduce performance requirements, Qualcomm is hoping to lower costs for the consumer. The latter is particularly interesting because it makes use of "6DoF" (degrees of freedom) technology to track not only the user's body but also the location of real-world objects.

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Qualcomm likes to stay ahead of the curve, but how far ahead can a company be and remain effective? The VR HMD market is a little bit slower to the punch. Now it's time for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform.

"HTC has consistently delivered VR experiences with the highest quality possible catering to the industry's most discerning users", said Alvin Wang Graylin, President HTC Vive, China.

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"Daydream works well on theSnapdragon 845".

There's also support for the Android Neural Networks API which will first appear in the Snapdragon 845 as well as the Hexagon Neural Network that lets developers run AI algorithms directly on the Hexagon Vector Processor. Qualcomm has already partnered with both HTC and Oculus for the standalone Snapdragon 835-powered Vive Focus and SD821-based Go, so it remains to be seen which and how many "global manufacturers" will look to "quickly build" commercial headsets inspired by this latest reference design. We'll see soon what the difference is between the 845 and the 845 VR - soon I say!

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Michael Inouye, principal analyst at ABI Research, added that Qualcomm is targeting the critical elements to give standalone VR the best opportunity to help expand the market, which he said could use a boost.


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