10 April 2019
If you are a technology enthusiast, you must have heard of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR). All of these are termed as the future of the technology but Qualcomm wants to add one more type of reality to the list. It is referring to this new thing as Extended Reality (XR) which is said to include all the three existing reality types and everything in between.
In order to take a step closer to making its vision a reality (no pun intended), Qualcomm has announced XR Viewer headsets at the ongoing MWC 2019 in Barcelona. These headsets are said to work with any Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform powered smartphones with the help of 5G network capabilities. It says that an XR headset will connect with a compatible phone via USB Type-C port, thus bringing the power of immersive experiences to one's pockets.
Qualcomm says that it has already partnered with a few major players including the likes of Sprint (U.S. carrier), Telstra (Australian carrier), SK Telecom (Korean carrier), and LG U+ (Korean carrier). The reason for starting the headset platform with the 5G network is simple which is a faster data transfer rate and low latency.
It said that it will be expanding the HMD Accelerator Program (HAP) to include and help pre-validate components and performance between smartphones and XR viewers. It is hopeful of optimizing XR Viewer headsets and releasing their commercial counterparts within this year itself. In fact, there are already two officially supported viewers: Acer OJO and Nreal Light. These are essentially mixed reality headsets but will also work as XR Viewer headset.
There is no doubt that Qualcomm's plan to bring AR/VR to users' pocket does appear to be interesting but it is the practical usability and feasibility which will define whether it will be a success or not.