Microsoft, Qualcomm Partner on Custom AR Chipsets

Posted on January 4, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Mobile, Windows with 16 Comments

Qualcomm announced today that it is partnering with Microsoft on custom chipsets for augmented reality (AR) solutions.

“This collaboration reflects the next step in both companies’ shared commitment to XR and the metaverse,” Qualcomm vice president Hugo Swart said. “Qualcomm Technologies’ core XR strategy has always been delivering the most cutting-edge technology, purpose-built chipsets [for the Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform] and enabling the ecosystem with our software platforms and hardware reference designs. We are thrilled to work with Microsoft to help expand and scale the adoption of AR hardware and software across the entire industry.”

Details are a bit sparse. The solutions will target both consumer and enterprise customers and they will result in “a new wave of power-efficient, lightweight AR glasses to deliver rich and immersive experiences.” The firms will also Microsoft Mesh and the Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform.

“Our goal is to inspire and empower others to collectively work to develop the metaverse future – a future that is grounded in trust and innovation,” said Microsoft corporate vice president of Mixed Reality Rubén Caballero. “With services like Microsoft Mesh, we are committed to delivering the safest and most comprehensive set of capabilities to power metaverses that blend the physical and digital worlds, ultimately delivering a shared sense of presence across devices. We look forward to working with Qualcomm Technologies to help the entire ecosystem unlock the promise of the metaverse.”

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Comments (16)

16 responses to “Microsoft, Qualcomm Partner on Custom AR Chipsets”

  1. sykeward

    “We look forward to working with Qualcomm Technologies to help the entire ecosystem unlock the promise of the metaverse.”

    It was tough to suppress my gag reflex for a moment there.

    • Truffles

      Based on all that marketing language substituting for an actual description, the whole project has the smell of death about it.

      I've worked on projects like that. The manager will be promoted out of the work group about nine months before the team is merged in to some other area where it can be silently dropped off the monthly work reports.

      • Dan

        I agree with you. All CES marketing with nothing will come of it. Like the MS/Qualcomm custom ARM chip for Windows.

  2. jchampeau

    I think this AR/VR stuff will remain a niche thing. Personal tech takes many forms--phones, tablets, laptop and desktop PCs, ambient computing, smart home stuff, dashcams, TVs with apps....the list could go on for a mile. What's different here is that none of those things require a person to strap a display to their head. I think most normal people will be unwilling to do that.

  3. VancouverNinja

    I think you are right. It will be gaming, industrial design, and medical use that it does take off. Out of this at some point we will see the real world acceptable format evolve that brings the technology into everyday use for consumers.

    • Dan

      You also said the MS phone would be changing the world with its 2 screens.

    • jimchamplin

      It has no everyday use.

    • jimchamplin

      Aarrgh! Wasn’t done with my previous post! Sorry.

      it has no everyday use. As of right now, everything they promise is just “do the thing with VR” and nothing new. It may have a killer app eventually, but I can’t see this stuff being much use outside of specific uses which have already been shown. Integrated solutions for design, visualization, et cetera.

      Nobody is going to wear a VR headset for a video chat.

  4. Truffles

    The smarmy git with the AR glasses doesn't give me confidence that MS will deliver a future "that is grounded in trust". Pretty sure he's filming some kids playing at the swimming hole.

  5. nine54

    Let's hope this partnership bears more fruit than the SQx partnership.

  6. Bart

    What is meant by XR?

  7. darkgrayknight

    I would like a bluetooth sunglasses monitor/camera that is tied to my phone. There could be some processing in the glasses, but being an extension of the phone (or a laptop/tablet) would make things more interesting. The idea that everything is built into the one wearable is not the best idea, just like everything on the phone isn't quite ideal either. If the wearables were extensions of our phones, then we could swap any wearable out for another brand/type and upgrade as needed. For example: upload photos from a digital SLR camera via a Bluetooth phone connection, or see the photos in AR glasses or current stats from your watch/fitness tracker.

  8. jimchamplin

    So this will be another piece of tech that Qualcomm can pretend to really care about then end up shoving some previous-gen silicon into and never update it again.

    I am absolutely insulting their wearables and PC efforts. Heh. “Efforts.” Pretty sure effort is the only thing they’re not putting forth. Oh, or investment.

    Qualcomm is a terrible partner, but Microsoft keeps going back like a lost puppy despite having been unable to deliver a quality CPU for Windows portables while under exclusive contract. Exclusive contract. Still can’t deliver decent performance. After years of putzing around.

    Vaporware at best. Zombie platform at worst.