Today during Qualcomm’s CES 2022 press conference, the company announced a partnership with fellow tech-giant Microsoft which will involve “designing custom AR chips and integrating software platforms.”

Qualcomm and Microsoft today strengthened their growing relationship in the XR space with a new partnership announcement. While Microsoft has already relied on Qualcomm to supply the Snapdragon chips found in its latest HoloLens 2 headset, now the companies indicate plans to work more closely together on components for future AR devices.

“This collaboration reflects the next step in both companies’ shared commitment to XR and the metaverse,” said Hugo Swart, vice president of XR at Qualcomm. “Qualcomm Technologies’ core XR strategy has always been delivering the most cutting-edge
technology, purpose-built XR chipsets and enabling the ecosystem with our software platforms and hardware reference designs. We are thrilled to work with Microsoft to help expand and scale the adoption of AR hardware and software across the entire industry.”

Specifically Qualcomm says it will be working with Microsoft on “developing custom AR chips to enable a new wave of power efficient, lightweight AR glasses to deliver rich and immersive experiences.” Further, the announcement reveals plans to integrate Microsoft Mesh—the company’s multi-user XR foundation—with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Spaces XR development tools.

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Qualcomm has established itself as an early leader in the growing XR space by leveraging its expertise in smartphone chip design to create the Snapdragon XR1 and XR2 chips which now power most of the leading standalone XR devices.

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Ostensibly the company already has an XR3 chip in the works, so it isn’t clear if the “custom chips” that will result from the partnership will basically mean that Microsoft has more say over what XR3 ultimately look like, or it if it will get its own custom chip that’s exclusive for its own uses in devices like HoloLens 3.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • kontis

    That seems unrelated to the hypothetical XR3. It will probably be something only Windows ARM-based HMDs will be using.

  • xyzs

    This Microsoft Qualcomm deal never pays off. They should stop that and just make Windows for any ARM.

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