Qualcomm today announced Snapdragon AR2, its “purpose-built headworn augmented reality platform.” Differentiating from the company’s existing Snapdragon XR2 chips, Qualcomm says the AR2 architecture is better suited for creating AR glasses with low power consumption and compact form factors.

Today during Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Summit event, the company revealed the Snapdragon AR2 platform which consists of a trio of chips which the company says will help make truly glasses-sized AR devices possible.

Qualcomm was early to the standalone VR space and has been dominant with its Snapdragon XR2 chips which have found their way into many of the leading standalone headsets on the market, and are now in more than 60 devices total, the company says.

Aiming to take a similar bite out of the forthcoming AR glasses segment, Qualcomm has created a new Snapdragon AR2 platform with a distributed processing design. The platform consists of three chips:

  • AR processor (for sensor perception and video output)
  • AR co-processor (for sensor fusion and dedicated computer vision tasks)
  • Wi-Fi 7 chip (for communication to a host processing device)

By creating a more distributed workload across a main processor and a co-processor, Qualcomm claims AR2 is up to 50% more power efficient while offering 2.5 times better AI performance, and a more compact form-factor, compared to the single-chip Snapdragon XR2 solution.

Not only will the AR processor and co-processor help share a workload, Qualcomm also sees AR2 devices using the speedy Wi-Fi 7 chip to communicate with a host device like a smartphone or wireless compute puck that will do the heavy lifting like application processing and rendering. Qualcomm claims the Wi-Fi 7 chip (FastConnect 7800) can achieve 5.8 Gbps bandwidth with just 2ms of latency.

Using this three-chip framework for distributed processing, Qualcomm claims it will be possible to build compact AR glasses that consume less than one watt of power.

The AR2 platform supports up to nine concurrent cameras for a bevy of head-tracking, environment-sensing, and user-tracking tasks.

“We built Snapdragon AR2 to address the unique challenges of headworn AR and provide industry leading processing, AI and connectivity that can fit inside a stylish form factor,” said Hugo Swart, vice president of XR product management at Qualcomm. “With the technical and physical requirements for VR/MR and AR diverging, Snapdragon AR2 represents another metaverse-defining platform in our XR portfolio to help our OEM partners revolutionize AR glasses.”

There’s no word yet on when the first AR2 devices will hit the market, but Qualcomm lists a handful of partners actively working with the platform: Lenovo, LG, Niantic, Nreal, Oppo, Pico, Qonoq, Rokid, Sharp, TCL, Vuzix, and Xiaomi.

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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."
  • ViRGiN

    AR2 is to XR2 what my brain is to the other members, a 50 percent downgrade version.

    • ViRGiN

      looser

  • I’m just so incredibly turned-off by the whole idea of AR to begin with ….
    This is a bullshit technology just like the smartwatch is.
    There’s N-O-T-H-I-N-G that can’t be done with a $40 Droidphone
    that both expensive smartwatches and now these AR specs can do.

    But the smartphone market’s rapidly maturing and very soon there’ll be
    no shiny new gadget to sell you every year, so they pull this nonsense outta thin air.
    The use of an outboard compute unit means AR glasses are nothing but
    smartphone screens for your face, just like smartwatches are nothing but
    smartphone screens for your wrist.

    There are HEAVY penalties for distracted driving: driving while using a phone.
    You’re telling me they disallow that, but there’re gonna permit
    whirring & spinning graphics to be literally in your face …??
    Yeah, ‘kay …. lol

    All this is moot anyway, since the AR people imagine and that’s showcased
    in high production value concept videos is so far away as to not even be worth ruminating about yet.

    • Lulu Vi Britannia

      It’s always hilarious and sad to see someone on a tech website come out with bullshit like that. Remember that literally everything you said here was said about VR headsets too.

      AR glasses will offer possibilities far greater than smartphones, with much more comfort since you don’t have to hold the device to do anything with it. It also has a much bigger FOV than smartphones.

      AR has the exact same functionalities as VR, so it can be used to make games and other active apps, just like it can be used for art and CAD jobs.

      Can you do sports with smartphones? No.
      Can you watch a movie on a screen the size that you want with other people with a smartphone? No.
      Do smartphones give the feeling that the virtual elements are in the same dimension as the real world? No.

      AR does all of this. Once it’s ready, it will offer limitless possibilities, just like VR. It can be used for animated boardgames. It can be used to enhance any physical activity. It can be used to paint in space. It can be used for virtual instruments.

      It’s not there yet, but the concept of AR is far from a mere cashgrab corporations want to push. And this chip could be the first step towards getting there.

      Finally : “smartphone market’s rapidly maturing” : LMAO. Right, it’s not like it was already selling billions a decade ago. Smartphones have already matured, a long time ago.

      • chad__

        AR doesn’t do all of this, a hypothetical AR in a distant future does all of this. I heard the same BS when smartphones became relevant, on how it would replaces PCs and gaming consoles and blah blah. 15 years later, and it still hasn’t, and they call it a success because 1 billion basic b’s use it to sell their personal info and destroy their real social life, nothing remotely close to the unitlity provided by a PC or gaming consoles. Yeah, *maybe* in another 15 or 30 or 50 years they will be finally as good as PCs and laptops, but so far that hasn’t happened, so talking about this ideal version of AR going mainstream is just being an evangelist.

        • kool

          I don’t think its that far off the last half of the decade we should see some cool goggles if not sunglasses. I think most devices will go dumb and most of the processing done on the cloud. I don’t see them replacing any other device. Just some shades you can wear outside to get info hands free or light active gaming in a park or living room. Itll probably do VR as well why not.

          • ApocalypseShadow

            Was saying this on upload as an alternate Tesla reality where the headset is a dumb device but the power and graphics are sent wirelessly.

            There’s always going to be naysayers. But a lot of the tech we have now defies all the naysayers who didn’t think certain things were possible. I would just let him be until he can see it for himself. It’ll happen sooner rather than later.

            He sees it as complete replacement. When it isn’t that. It’s just easier to use and convenient. Cellphones and tablets have replaced the need to run home and use your PC to look up something or even turn it on, the cameras take high quality photos replacing most cameras, the GPS gives us navigation without having to buy a GPS device. The onboard memory and SD cards gives us the ability to carry more music than is ever possible on any other medium. There’s enough power to play some good looking games on a cellphone. Or emulate past consoles like GameCube, PS2, PS1, Dreamcast, etc all the way to Atari.

            Doesn’t mean it stopped some consumers using records or CDs. Some still use them. Or stop consumers from buying consoles to play games. Just like some still use cameras for high pixel photo capture. Or GPS to traverse mountain terrain. He doesn’t see that it isn’t about all replacement or nothing. If that was the case, no one would be riding bikes. The world would be buried in cars.

          • chad__

            Labeling “the other side” doesn’t make your point stronger. Was everyone “naysayers” when it came to 3d TV?
            How is Google Stadia coming along?

            Facebook phone anyone?
            Steam console?

            I’m sure Kinect revolutionized input.
            Hyperloop.
            NFTs.
            But no, let’s ignore all the failures and have selective memory. Let’s be children and take sides and start calling each other labels.

            “There’s enough power to play some good looking games on a cellphone. Or emulate past consoles like GameCube, PS2, PS1, Dreamcast, etc all the way to Atari.”

            Yeah, the cell phone gaming industry is such an absolute dogshit you have to bring up unofficial emulators and illegal roms to make your point stand.
            Smartphone failed to come close to consoles and PCs. They do some things well, are ass at a lot of other things. Yet you bring up examples of niches vs smartphones, as if PCs or consoles are in any way a niche.

          • ApocalypseShadow

            Your problem is that you think something has to be right now or used by millions to be some type of success. As if it doesn’t take time to get there. Your mind has mainstream and viral videos written all over it. Chasing it like Facebook and Microsoft, etc when you personally bought headsets maybe too early. The first cellphone is not like today’s cellphone. You have the idea on if it’s not used by everyone right now or fully functional, it failed. That’s not how this works. The only thing is that what came before is improved upon and is convenient or found to be functional with something else. That’s it. It’s not about complete replacement. Not everyone has a cellphone, TV, car, console, PC, etc. Because they either can’t afford it or don’t care at all about it.

            Billions don’t play consoles. Who cares. As long as the core are buying and companies are making money, who cares if it’s not the whole planet. There are gamers worried about AR or VR reaching mainstream. But even then, billions will still not be using it. You can reach more before saturation or lose some. It’s still the same. Is the core enjoying it with ease of use and did the company make money?

            3D TV had a major hurtle to get past. And there wasn’t a lot of content for it. Major television channels didn’t provide programming. So, of course it wouldn’t go anywhere. It didn’t really serve a function. PCs, cellphones and eventually AR and VR headsets will serve many in function. I’d quote all the things besides gaming they can do. But you already know without me telling you. It just won’t happen overnight. And 3D movies still live on and watchable in VR. So, it didn’t die.

            You named failed consoles but there’s Switch, PlayStation, etc that are successes. That also can stream games. PS Now is game streaming as an option. So is xcloud. Kinect failed because Microsoft didn’t support it just like their Windows headsets. But Kinect like motion capture is used in VR and evolved. PSVR used it. Cameras on PS VR 2 are motion capture tracking like Kinect. Where you been? I mentioned games before mentioning emulation. You can read. Go look again since you missed it.

            The point is that just because it’s not ready right now, doesn’t mean it’s not coming. If you can’t wait because you sound so impatient, maybe you should touch some grass. It might do you better than getting upset because the tech isn’t fully functional and here. I have played games since it started. Now there’s VR. AR will be here as well. Used in multiple ways because they have more function and used in many areas besides games. 3D TV was never used to build cars, buildings, help in the medical field, construction, job training, education, etc. AR and VR are today and will in the future.

          • chad__

            Maybe you should not be a douche online and not expect me to read a freaking wall of text. How ironic, go touch some grass yourself, or find something better to do. Or make your point concise, nobody has time for the above nonsense.

          • chad__

            It doesn’t really matter what you think, if you have nothing to back it up with.

            There’s a few AR glasses on sale, today. I haven’t seen anyone who has one. I have one, thre actually. Hololens, Magic Leap and Rokid Air.

            But all it has zero to do with the hypothetical perfect AR device I was responding to.

          • kool

            You just backed it up you think the tech from these companies wont get better copied and made cheaper? AR tech isn’t that hard to grasp its just priced out of the reach of the average consumer right now by the 30s that’ll change.

    • alxslr

      Mmm… I’m most interested in VR and I think AR is still far away, but every time I go to the subway or I’m at the doctor’s waiting room I see all those people focused in a little square holded in their hands, and I know that’s only temporary, and that in one or two decades an image like that will make people laugh.
      Mobile phones are already computerized extensions for the human race. And having its displays integrated in front of your view instead of in a small square in your hand it’s just the natural evolution. Even if it were only “smartphone screens in front of your face” the evolution makes sense. Stereoscopy, integration with the real worl, a potencial virtual FOV equivalent to many monitors, all this are extras.
      So it’ll take time, but it’ll be here, with massive adoption, and it will be indeed the next computing platform.
      Maybe Meta will no longer exist by then :-D, but that’s another subject.

    • ViRGiN

      I think AR has potential, but just like metaverse – it simply does not exist yet.

      • Indoor use, absolutely!
        But as an iPhone replacement and all that that entails …??
        Absolutely NOT.

    • A good point. AR is weak little brother to VR, not the “Next Step” companies keep saying. Not only is it harder to pull off, but it’s far less flexible and immersive. It’s only good in situations where you MUST remain in the real-world.

      VR takes you to another world. Why stop half way in AR? Outside of real-world social environments, like party games or maybe work stuff, what is the big draw?

      • Randy flood

        AR is for overlaying information on the real world. For example Google maps where it overlays the directions on my field of view. Also, real time translation of signs directly over the existing sign. Real time subtitles with translation. Real time overlays on which part goes where when putting furniture together. Etc.

    • Max-Dmg

      But you can be sitting in an office meeting with AR glasses on, watching strippers dance on the table.

      • lol Noyce!!
        Yeah, AR used indoors is very very cool.
        I’m saying it cannot be an everyday iPhone replacement, that’s all.

        • kool

          Even in a perfect ar scenario youd probably pull out and iphone to do somethings

      • XRC

        Kipman allegedly did something similar at Microsoft

  • 144Hz

    Next gen pron glasses? I’ll take two.

  • poltevo

    They should be comparing this to the XR1, rather then the XR2. Not that it really matters: glasses-based AR is not primarily being held back by compute power.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      AR is very much held back by compute power, which is the main reason why devices like the Quest Pro cannot offer true AR, so Meta went for Mixed Reality as a mostly marketing term for VR with passthrough and spatial anchors. The current XR2+ is way too slow to do proper image recognition, it basically only detects surfaces and high contrast edges between them, which it tracks between frames, as this can be delegated mostly to the integrated DSP. This allows it to determine its 6DoF position, and all the virtual copies of desks, chairs and walls are then connected to that position in space, so if you hang a picture at your wall in VR, it doesn’t really stick to the wall, it sticks to the room.

      That isn’t really AR. Google Lens is AR, reading a text on a poster or billboard, translating it and overlaying the live picture with the translation. The new Google Maps is AR, as it no longer relies only on GPS, but also cross references the live view with pictures taken for street view to place location markers in front of a store instead of the middle of a road or lake. These all require way more complex image processing than the edge or silhouette detection a Quest does for room, controller or hand tracking.

      The most obvious problem for AR glasses are the displays, with current camera passthrough solutions being clunky and lowres, and see-through displays having low FoV and lacking contrast and opacity. But AR doesn’t really need high resolution. A pair of glasses that just display context sensitive information would be already useful, so Google Glasses could have been a great product, if it had done anything useful with the environment. It couldn’t, because it could in no way pack enough processing power for image processing, so it was degraded to a head mounted camera for phone notifications.

      This is also why the AR2 doesn’t really compare to the XR1: it may have similar low compute and GPU power like the XR1, but its AI compute power is 2.5 times as the XR2. And this is exactly the part that will be used in the image recognition needed for AR.

      • XRC

        Turn by turn navigation combined with real time data (speed, average, power, etc.) in Oakley level sports glasses form factor immensely beneficial for active athletes especially cycling and running.

        Currently handlebar and wrist mounted display device with GPS like Garmin dominate this market, but looking down is dangerously distractive, same vulnerability as smartphone user.

        Advances in AI combined with AR display improvement could make this reality quite soon. Google Lens very impressive.

  • No. Still an automatic failure. Again, where is the hand tracking?? Somebody needs to take a rolled up newspaper and smack all of the engineers, designers, and CEO’s that think you can put out AR or VR without hand tracking. Without hand tracking, it’s a glorified tech demo. Dumping the user interface on a phone is a no-go.

    If you need proof, go ask the HTC about the Flow! Over a year early to market with pancake lens and still a complete flop.

    • Has there been an actually useful hand tracking system released to date? I’ve tried Quest hand tracking and outside a few interesting demos it’s not very practical. Using it to browse the web, having to make relatively large movements with your fingers and arms gets old fast. Think about how you use your phone, your hands can be any which way, any lighting condition, and all you need is subtle finger movements on a small surface.
      Will handtracking ever be able to match that? Maybe Meta’s force bracelet will, but that’s still deep in the R&D phase. Or a simple, but thoughtfully designed controller can give you that level of precision today.

      • ViRGiN

        Hand tracking works super well on Quest 2 considering it’s based of black and white lowres cameras. Quest Pro hand tracking is extremely good.

        It’s not a controller replacement – it’s good for navigating menus, choosing video to play, or have more natural body language conversations.

        Dedicated module like Ultraleap is even better, but nobody is developing for it, and noone is buying it.

        • Navigating a quick menu here and there works well enough, but can you realistically see yourself using it in long form? Pinch and drag to scroll is, well… a drag. I don’t know if it ever meaningfully overcomes it’s fundamental limitations, but maybe I’m just too much of a gamer to see it.

          • ViRGiN

            I would prefer virtual touch screen for regular use, but those things are always an aid, or chill-out type format. I’m not making 100 clicks for anything in VR. I’ll always take off the headset and do everything from there. 5 minutes on traditional workstation is worth more than 2 hours in VR.

    • The Flow a flop …??
      Why, you don’t think this “Flow In Your Car” thing will be a tremendous hit?? lol

      But one thing people people just don’t seem to be getting:
      none of this Asian junk is gonna be moving any needles here in America.
      The only XR hardware people here are gonna be interested in is FAANG stuff:
      Meta, Apple, Google, Amazon [maybe], etc., etc.

      • ViRGiN

        Why are you such a big HATER?
        Pimax already FUNDED their PIMAX PORTAL and they DO SELL TO MERICA. IT’S GOING TO BE A SMASH SHIT. WHAT? YOU DONT THINK PEOPLE WANT VR TABLETS AND WIDE FIELD OF VIEW?

    • Johnatan Blogins

      With support for that amount of cameras, and dedicated CV chip, there’s no reason hand tracking can’t be deployed to it, Lynx XR1 uses cameras to do tracking with Ultraleap API…

  • Rene Energibinder

    I would have no problem with a lead connection to a bigger unit in my pocket to make AR more viable, until we get the jump in compute units that is needed to get everything smaller and on the glasses themselves. By then AR glasses will be obsolete where the next step would be hologram projectors. The future will tell, but until then AR glasses connected to a smartphone is very convenient and new, and will replace VR sooner than later.

    • kool

      This supports wireless connection thru wifi7. Once they stream ar and VR from a server the possibilities are endless.

  • How is AR usable …?? lol
    People are walking into moving car traffic NOW
    because of incessantly staring at their black mirrors.
    What’s in gonna be like when you won’t hafta hold
    a device anymore since it’ll be directly on your face?
    Allow me to answer one that for ya: a zillion times worse.

    • kool

      People bike, skate, motocross, boat, sail, jet ski, hunt run, site see, bird watch, play sports, survey and fix stuff everyday. Not everybody is a useless lump. I live in Atlanta and there are battle markers all over from the siege of Atlanta during the civil war, just imagine what ar can show you about your own neighborhood history. Its the stuff you can’t think of that will make it uawful.

  • Cody Hobbs

    I think everyone here is really missing what the immediate potential for these type of devices really is: as someone who works in public utilities, we are already in the beginning stages of piloting nReal light for field service technicians to be used as a “tech support on demand”. It’s not perfect, and we’re using makeshift shades over the glasses to increase visibility outdoors, but having even just a flat screen that a field tech can pin to a fixed location in space is something that will become instantly invaluable.

    I think that because the current iteration of VR/AR has been so focused on consumer entertainment, the practical utility of what these devices have to offer is being missed.

  • ViRGiN

    The existence of kickstarter, and cathering to the lowest common denominator – android tablet – clearl shows they are OUT of business, and this is their last straw to grab.
    I saw some shills talking about 2000 people signing for kickstarter before it launched, yet it doesn’t even have 400 paying customers lol.
    I hope more people will sign up for it. Their loss is my joy.