Qualcomm on Wednesday announced a new virtual reality (VR) reference platform based on its flagship mobile chip, the Snapdragon 845. Lenovo also announced the Mirage Solo with Daydream which is also powered by the SD835 at CES 2018. The AI Engine will be supported on Snapdragon 845, 835, 820 and 660 mobile platforms, with cutting-edge on-device AI processing found in the Snapdragon 845.
The key feature that separates the new headset from past Qualcomm VR reference designs is the device's expanded tracking ability.
In an official blog post, Qualcomm highlighted the features of the chipset which makes it great for VR and AR headsets.
The Snapdragon™ 845 Mobile Platform uses the latest Qualcomm® Adreno™ 630 visual processing subsystem which offers outstanding integrated graphics, video and display processing technologies. According to Engadget, it will also be 30 percent faster and boast a 30 percent boost to overall power efficiency compared to the previous Snapdragon 835 mobile chipset.
Also new is Adreno Foveation, which combines graphics rendering with eye tracking to understand where the user is looking.
It's also environment-aware. Thanks to six degrees of freedom (6DoF) and simultaneous localization and mapping (accelerated, of course, by the Snapdragon 845's Hexagon Digital Signal Processor and Adreno GPU), the headset is able to track wearers' bodies and locations within a room without the need for external sensors.
The newly unveiled Qualcomm Artificial Intelligence (AI) Engine is comprised of several hardware and software components like a Neural Processing Engine (NPE) software framework, support for Android Neural Networks API, and a Hexagon Neural Network (NN) library. It can be added retroactively to devices via an over-the-air update, the company says. It targets both smartphones with VR features and standalone VR headsets.
Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 SoC also offers additional performance gains that designers can enable with eye tracking hardware. "We are constantly looking to improve our technologies and platforms to help our customers differentiate their product offerings, and these enhancements in Qualcomm TrueWireless Stereo technology are designed to help them create the next generation of exciting and innovative truly wireless hearable devices that can support substantially longer music play time and voice call time". "Then, five years later you say 'wow, what a change in our lives that this technology has provided.' we're going to see the same thing in VR".
Qualcomm invents breakthrough technologies that transform how the world connects and communicates. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, all of our engineering, research and development functions, and all of our products and services businesses, including, the QCT semiconductor business.