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Qualcomm announces Snapdragon XR2, the world's first 5G XR platform



In May 2018, Qualcomm introduced a special mixed-reality chipset called the Snapdragon XR1, which was used by OEMs looking for "minimum immersion criteria" in mixed-reality worlds. Today, the company is taking a big step forward with the Snapdragon XR2. Called the "world's first 5G XR platform", the Snapdragon XR2 may power some of the first 5G mixed-reality headsets.

] With Qualcomm providing more than one platform for mixed-reality devices, it's important to understand the Snapdragon XR2's positioning from the start. While the XR1 should lower component prices for basic XR headsets, it was eventually used in Enterprise AR goggles such as Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 and the Vuzix M400. In contrast, the XR2 is more powerful than the Qualcomm's XR1

and Snapdragon 835, which primarily power the above-average Oculus Quest headset, more than eleven times faster AI processing, six times higher video resolution, and four times the video bandwidth, but only four Cryo cores – one Prime, one Gold and two Silver – instead of eight in the 835. With XR2 eye can display up to 3K x 3K at 90 frames per second – a dramatic improvement over most of today's VR and AR headsets is supported by a lot of computing power to make these screens useful.

In addition to supporting foveated rendering The Adreno 650 GPU of the XR2 promises a triple texel processing rate and a 1.5x pixel processing rate of the 835 with a 2.5x overall pixel throughput. With this throughput, XR2 supports streaming and playback of 8K videos – including 360-degree immersive videos – with 60 fps or 4K videos at 120 fps with HDR10 / HDR10 + support. In the audio department, XR2 supports 3D spatial sound and includes a custom, power-efficient Qualcomm Hexagon DSP with voice activation and context detection capabilities.

Above: The chip housing for the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 5G.

Source: Qualcomm

XR2 also provides superior 3D tracking, especially compared to the basic 3DoF XR1. According to Qualcomm, it is the first XR platform to support seven simultaneous cameras and a dedicated computer vision processor, making it a self-contained device with 26-point hand tracking, eye and lip tracking, 3D space mapping, and a single XR platform Photo / video camera offers. It also includes a pass-through mode for low-latency cameras that allows smooth real-time merging of digital content with what the camera sees – an important requirement for augmented reality.

The power amplification multipliers of the XR2 vary in comparison to the XR1, but the generation-to-generation improvements are still apparent. For example, the XR2's AI engine delivers 15 trillion operations per second (TOPS) compared to 1.8 TOPS in the XR1 and 1.3 TOPS in the Snapdragon 835. This is an eightfold improvement over the XR1 compared to eleven times the 835 On the other hand, the 835 supported four cameras simultaneously versus the three cameras of the XR1 and the seven of the XR2. And XR2 offers both support for Wi-Fi 6 and 802.11ay at 60 GHz, while XR1 and 835 were limited to Wi-Fi 5.

It should be noted that XR2 customers have the option of 5G support, but this is not a mandatory feature. On the platform: The latest Snapdragon X55 modem can be integrated into the XR2 as needed. Qualcomm expects that some devices will use it for "truly limitless XR" by sharing processing between the device and low-latency edge cloud streaming servers for photorealistic experiences. Devices using Snapdragon XR2 while others evaluate the platform. Based on experience with the Snapdragon 835 and XR1, the lead time between evaluation and announcement could be one year. This means that we may start seeing actual products on the new platform in late 2020 or early 2021, giving our partners access to reference designs and software packages that enable newcomers to get up and running faster than before. For more information on the Snapdragon XR2 and Qualcomm plans, see our interview with VP Hugo Swart and XR Product Management Director, Hiren Bhinde.


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