Microsoft and Qualcomm announced a collaboration to design custom chipsets for AR.
The announcement was made in connection with the 2022 CES show in Las Vegas this week as the technology development giants revealed collaborative efforts “across several initiatives to drive the ecosystem, including developing custom AR chips to enable a new wave of power efficient, lightweight AR glasses to deliver rich and immersive experiences.”
Jamie and I took Microsoft Mesh for a test drive on the HoloLens 2 last year and it shows real promise as a multiplayer framework that extends across a wide range of devices, and Qualcomm recently announced the Snapdragon Spaces developer platform. The collaboration is expected to support integration of those platforms. Qualcomm, of course, makes the chipset used in the Quest 2 and other standalone headset efforts and from time to time the company releases reference designs to help others get started designing VR or AR headsets. We expect Microsoft to come after the consumer augmented reality market but precisely when remains an open question.
While CES is often a showcase for products that are still concepts, sometimes foundational partnerships or technologies are announced that take years to have an actual impact on consumers. Is that the case with this Qualcomm/Microsoft collaboration? The path ahead for mass market consumer AR glasses is a long one with huge advances needed to achieve all-day comfort and this collaboration could ultimately play a part in that development. Then again, sometimes collaborations like these fizzle out as market needs push companies in different directions.
We’ll keep you updated as we learn more about this collaboration.