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Microsoft and Qualcomm to Co-design Chips for Augmented Reality

New joint project for Microsoft and Qualcomm: the development of chips designed specifically for augmented reality and the integration of their software solutions Microsoft Mesh and Snapdragon Spaces. The goal is to create “lightweight augmented reality glasses” that will appeal to both the business world and the general public.

At its Consumer Electronics Conference CES 2022 conference, which took place on the evening of January 4, Qualcomm announced a new collaboration with Microsoft around augmented reality. Qualcomm already supplies the processor for the HoloLens 2 headset, strictly reserved for professionals, but the two companies now plan to “accelerate the adoption of augmented reality in both the B2C and B2B sectors”.

CO-DESIGN OF CHIPS AND SOFTWARE INTEGRATION

Qualcomm obviously does not fail to place a reference to the metaverse, vision of the future “in which they both believe”. Concretely, the partnership will focus on the development of several customized chips for augmented reality, the objective of which will be to equip “light augmented reality glasses with optimized energy consumption to provide immersive and rich experiences”. Mutual integration of Microsoft Mesh and Snapdragon Spaces software platforms is also planned.

THE MARATHON TOWARDS AUGMENTED REALITY FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC

This collaboration will undoubtedly take several years to bear fruit, but its announcement signals an intensification of Microsoft’s efforts in the augmented reality market, and in particular its targets on the general public segment. There it will have to face strong adversaries like Meta and Apple , but also Niantic, Google and undoubtedly Samsung .

It also further consolidates Qualcomm’s dominance in the AR / VR market. The San Diego-based company has established itself as the only System-on-a-Chip (SoC) supplier capable of equipping virtual and augmented reality devices. Its chips now equip all the products currently on the market.

However, two things should call its position into question: the first is the arrival of Apple’s first mixed reality headset, which should be seen by the end of the year and which will use a homemade SoC. The second, much more annoying for Qualcomm, is the fact that Meta is also developing its own chips in-house and could eventually decide to do without its products. Its Oculus Quest 2 headset , equipped with the Snapdragon XR2 , is by far the best-selling device on the market.

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