Today, at an online version of this year’s Augmented World Expo (AWE), Qualcomm announced that it’s partnered with a number of global telecoms, smartphone companies, and AR/VR headset manufacturers to deliver 5G-enabled, smartphone-driven headsets to consumers and enterprise customers. It plans to do so within the next year.

The semiconductor giant has partnered with fifteen global telecoms across Asia, Europe, and North America. Qualcomm says the following service providers will be commercializing some form of ‘XR viewer’ within the next year: China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, EE, KDDI, KT, LG Uplus, NTT DOCOMO, Orange, SK Telecom, SoftBank, Telefonica, Verizon, and Vodafone.

When Qualcomm says ‘XR viewer’, it’s specifically referring to lightweight AR or VR headsets that connect to a smartphone, which in Qualcomm’s case will either be powered by a Snapdragon 855 or 865 chipset, and connect to 5G-enabled handsets via USB-C cable.

Image courtesy Qualcomm

The company has also set up a validation process—called Qualcomm XR Optimized Certification Program—to make sure headsets and individual smartphones are up to snuff and work properly together.

The program is intended to certify things on both viewers and smartphones like 6DOF performance, motion to photon latency, power and thermals, and interoperability. Qualcomm will be including a badge as well, so you know what’s been certified as XR compliant.

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Headset and smartphone manufacturers already going through the process include 3Glasses, iQIYI, Nreal, OPPO, Panasonic, Pico and Shadow Creator. Smartphone OEMs ASUS, BlackShark, OnePlus, OPPO, Smartisan, vivo, ZTE, are said to follow.

Earlier this year Qualcomm announced that it was effectively powering more than 30 AR and VR headsets, some of which are standalone devices incorporating Snapdragon processors.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • kontis

    What year is it? 2020? But looking at these renders it feels like 2000 again. A bunch of sleek low fov useless crap that consumers were rejecting for 3 decades coming back again. But hey, the industrial design looks nice so the guys trying to sell it don’t feel like idiots when showing their power point presentations. Apparently it’s what actually matters. If you can’t be the next apple it’s pointless to even try, right?

    History repeating itself. And after it doesn’t sell (again for the same reasons it didn’t sale decades ago) these companies will proclaim VR/AR as dead.

    You know that cliche: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. So true here.

    The widest FOV headset Oculus has ever released was Rift DK1 in 2013. It was a primitive ugly box that sold better than any HMD in the history before… I wonder why? It must be some kind of mystery!

  • kontis

    What year is it? 2020? But looking at these renders it feels like 2000 again. A bunch of sleek low fov useless crap that consumers were rejecting for 3 decades coming back again. But hey, the industrial design looks nice so the guys trying to sell it don’t feel like idiots when showing their power point presentations. Apparently it’s what actually matters. If you can’t be the next apple it’s pointless to even try, right?

    History repeating itself. And after it doesn’t sell (again for the same reasons it didn’t sale decades ago) these companies will proclaim VR/AR as dead.

    You know that cliche: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. So true here.

    The widest FOV headset Oculus has ever released was Rift DK1 in 2013. It was a primitive ugly box that sold better than any HMD in the history before… I wonder why? It must be some kind of mystery!

    • mfx

      uh?
      My main issue with VR is how painful it’s heavy and uncomfortable, I enjoy those coming techs personally. Maybe you’re good with your pack of milk on your face but it’s not the case for everyone.

      • non of these offerings here address that issue. What he is saying is true. A comfortable light headset is achievable but is not going to look like sunshade glasses. That’s ridiculous. It will be much larger than any of the headsets shown in the picture to allow for better weight distribution in the head. For glasses like VR to work any time soon the glasses area has to be far larger in order to cover an immersive/acceptable field of view like that of modern VR headsets.

        Note: My main issue with VR today is also how uncomfortable it is and the lack of leg tracking.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        Except these new glasses you see here in the picture don’t have near the FOV the current ‘milkpack’ has. And looking at some of them , they definitely don’t need to worry about lightleakage as they haven’t got any lightprotection at all.. Seems more like AR glasses to me than actual VR glasses.. Ofcourse I hope something like the Panasonic glasses in the picture would have a higher resolution and FOV as my current HTC Vive Pro, but I highly doubt that.. Personally I don’t mind the milkpack if the headstrap is comfortable (to me the HTC Vive Pro is very comfortable, I like the tight fit) and would give me wireless VR..

    • VRagoso

      As all here like to repeat this excuse mantra to praise AR: “The technology is not there yet.” The technology was not there yet in 2000, it is arriving now in 2020. So, rejoice people in your prophecies :)

    • Jonathan Winters III

      They’re severely trading off horizontal and vertical fov for aesthetics. Doh!

  • Ad

    These will be uncomfortable and bad. They’ll just force it into a small form factor to look nice but it’ll be so terrible in every other way that it’ll just be an expensive paperweight for VR.

  • Rudl Za Vedno

    OH MY GOD! PC VR is in BIG TROUBLE if this is the direction major XR manufacturers are headed. XRSPACE MOVA just announced one of these HMDs. It has lower resolution than Quest and costs $200 more. What’s wrong with VR industry today? Star VR figured out most of the tech VR costumers would like to see back in 2017 (namely eye tracking with foveated rendering + “human” FOV) and HP took badly needed resolution step with Reverb. I was expecting 140H FOV and 2x2560x1440p to be a new norm for decent VR hmd in 2020. It looks like companies producing VR HMD decided to move backward in time to offer us even less immersive VR experiences than what we used to get :( Compact form and standalone option are great, but not if it comes at the expanse of picture quality and immersion. Give us wider fov & higher res first, then shrink the damn thing if you can over time.

    • Marc-André Désilets

      You need to balance power consumption, cost, performance and mass adoption. Higher resolution doesn’t match any of these requirements it would make everything worst (require more power processing unit, more battery…). At the moment the best balance between everything is the oculus quest and even at that price, it’s still to high for mass market. We need everyone to try/buy their first vr headset then, at the tech evolve and get cheaper, we’ll update the other features. You need a 2080ti to render full res at 144htz on a valve index. This is 1200$ only for the video card. I’m sorry to tell you that the ‘PC master race’ phylosophy can’t be applied for vr at the moment.

      • Rudl Za Vedno

        Why would you want 144Hz? I have a Reverb 2x2160p screens and have no problem rendering it at 90Hz at 1SS with 1080TI. RTX 3060 will be as fast if not faster than 1080TI and probably cost between $300-400 so there really is no reason not to move to higher res panels in Q4 2020. Even PS5/XboxX will have GPU power on pair with 1080TI/2080S. I’m OK with standalone headsets having lower specs, but not at the expense of PCVR and “PSVR2”. What bothers me is that companies are moving away from retail PCVR R&D into low end standalone and ultra high end enterprise AR products, leaving PCVR in the dust.

        • Adrian Meredith

          High Hz means more comfort, lower latency and more immersion. I would definitely prefer higher resolution over anything else so long as the rate is at least 90. The 72hz of the quest is too low imo

        • Marc-André Désilets

          We need people to buy headset so they buy games and game studio can make games. Right now, most AAA VR games studio are losing money by making games and that’s a huge problem in the industry.

          I have tried 144hz and the comfort difference is clearly visible, in my opinion I would prefer a good high contrast screen with higher resolution. Have you tried to supersample games at 300% with the current vr generation. It looks soooo good. The 1080ti still cost ~750US$ and the cheaper 2060super is 399US$. With the full pc and the headset that’s an introduction price ~1500$US. That’s a high price to pay to play vr games.

          This is where the Quest comes to the rescue. 399US$, no pc needed, no driver update nor configuration. Yes for now it’s at the sacrifice of high resolution PCVR headset, but they sell so many Quest that it’s always sold out. At the end that’s a good thing.

          It’s really weird to say but the next big highend vr platform might be the ps5.

    • sfmike

      PC VR is in big trouble with these manufactures as they see it as dead because it didn’t make the fast billions the investment gurus had promised so they have relegated it to the same trash heap as they did 3D TV for the same reason. For some reason AR hasn’t been lumped in with VR and the investment advisors are still able to push AR as the next BIG thing. When these end up unsold on the sale table I think both AR and VR will be in a depressed state as the world economy crashes around us.

  • Ted Joseph

    I have been using VR since DK1. I have almost all of the top VR headsets released. These steps (releasing new products as they become a step ahead) are good as they mimic small improvements similar to cellphones. I welcome these small advances, even though they dont provide everything we want – YET…

  • 144Hz

    Good. I can’t wait to ditch this bulky crap for a nice pair of vr shades.

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