Qualcomm has announced its latest mixed reality chips — Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 and Snapdragon AR1 Gen 1. These new processors are set to redefine the capabilities of Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and smart glasses, posing a significant challenge to existing products like Apple’s Vision Pro.
Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2:
The Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 is Qualcomm’s most advanced SoC to date, designed for what the company calls “spatial computing.” This chip will be the cornerstone of the next generation of mixed reality headsets,like the recently launched Meta Quest 3, which blends the virtual and real worlds.
The XR2 Gen 2 offers a GPU performance that is 2.5 times greater than its predecessor, the XR2 Gen 1. This increase in power comes with a 50% boost in efficiency, addressing one of the most pressing issues for VR and MR headsets — overheating.
The chip also features enhanced AI capabilities, thanks to its Hexagon Neural Processing Unit. This NPU can execute AI tasks on the device, such as generating designs based on brief descriptions, and is up to eight times more powerful than its previous version.
In terms of connectivity, the XR2 Gen 2 supports the latest Wi-Fi 7 and Wi-Fi 6E standards, reducing power consumption by up to 25% and latency by 80%. The chip can also achieve speeds of up to 5.8 Gbps.
Snapdragon AR1 Gen 1:
Qualcomm also unveiled its first-ever chip designed exclusively for smart glasses — the Snapdragon AR1 Gen 1, the lightweight version of Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1 that launched last year. Unlike AR headsets, smart glasses are designed for everyday use and offer various functions, such as video recording and information display.
The AR1 Gen 1 promises to significantly improve the cameras in smart glasses, supporting sensors of up to 12 megapixels and video capture of up to 6 MP. The chip also includes a 14-bit Dual ISP and supports features like computational HDR, portrait mode, and autofocus. The chip also offers improved voice recognition and integrates noise cancellation features, making it ideal for calls and voice-activated functions.
Both the XR2 Gen 2 and the AR1 Gen 1 have been featured in devices developed by Meta Platforms. The XR2 has powered the new Quest 3 VR headsets, while the AR1 has been included in the second generation of Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses.