Virtual and augmented reality hardware are forever being touted as the next big thing in tech. No doubt that will happen as the technology’s price comes down to the level of a high-end mechanical keyboard or mouse. That, and more games need to support such features. It’s all well and good to get your hands virtually dirty in some games, but it’s like eating a bowl of kale while watching your partner digging into bangers and mash. Might the Snapdragon XR1 platform be the answer?
VR headsets are expensive. In Australia, you’re likely to be forking out about AU$1,000 just for the headset. Then, you need to buy the computer hardware capable of running the games. That stuff isn’t cheap either. Qualcomm understands this, and has been forging it’s way to getting cheaper gear into the hands of consumers. Samsung of course thinks that its phone based VR system is fantastic. But how often do you see people walking around with their phone strapped to their faces?
The Snapdragom XR1 platform (eXtended Reality) is aimed at high to premium range virtual and augmented reality products. Things that you’d use in the home for a high end gaming experience. If customers really want their phones in their faces (most people do that anyway), the Snapdragon 800 series can still cater to those needs. This platform repurposes older – but still powerful – chipsets like the Snapdragon 821 as the basis for the XR1’s computing power.
The devices that the Snapdragon XR1 is aimed at would be things like the Oculus Go, which have three degrees of freedom and can work with simple controllers, along with more expensive stuff like Lenovo’s Mirage. The Mirage has six degrees of freedom plus the ability to leverage more sophisticated sensors and controllers.
Whether we are on the way to the world of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, in which the human population lives inside a virtual universe of memes and pop-culture references, we can’t say. But VR and augmented reality is here to stay. How widespread their use, and how such technology gets used (apart from games) is still up for debate. Qualcomm is certainly moving to make it more accessible though.