- Meta’s partnership with Qualcomm might mean the release of a Qualcomm chip soon.
- A custom chip made compatible with the Metaverse might result in a significant increase in its performance.
- Although Meta and Qualcomm are working on AR devices, Snapdragon Spaces is excluded from the arrangement.
Qualcomm has quickly stamped itself as the go-to chip manufacturer for standalone VR headsets. Even more so now, with the announcement in early September 2022 that Qualcomm and Meta have formed a multi-year agreement to work together. Before this agreement was initiated, Meta tried to create its own custom processor. Apple did with the M1 and M2 chips, but Meta has had mixed results at best. This partnership is not the first time Meta and Qualcomm have worked together though.
Meta has relied on Qualcomm and its excellent chips for their VR headsets for years, including the latest Quest2. While VR headsets seem like the brand new thing, Meta is taking it further by diving into AR (Augmented Reality) and MR (Mixed Reality). With Meta moving into new territory relatively quickly, this partnership can seemingly accelerate a few processes.
In a recent interview, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “We are still in the early stages of the metaverse, and this sort of deep technical integration will help VR move towards being a multifunctional computing platform,”
Why Did This Partnership Form?
While we cannot say why this partnership was formed for certain, we can speculate about a couple of big reasons. The two biggest reasons we can think of are named Google and Apple. But you might be saying Google and Apple don’t have VR headsets. To that, we say, not yet! Apple is supposedly working on a VR headset to release next year with an M2 chip inside. An M2 chip is way more powerful than the current XR2 chip from Qualcomm. Currently, Google has no VR or AR headsets in the works. However, their Augmented Reality software, AR Core, is making leaps and bounds.
So instead of Meta sitting back and waiting for Qualcomm to come out with a chip that can theoretically compete with an M2 chip, they decided to work together on a custom chip, hopefully. Other professional VR headset competitors like Vajro and Pico also use Qualcomm chips, and Meta wants to stand above the rest. The President of Qualcomm said, “By partnering with Meta, we are bringing together two of the world’s metaverse leaders to revolutionize the future of computing for billions of people in the coming years,”
David Chen, co-founder and CTO of Orbbec, wrote for Spiceworks, “From a hardware standpoint, the fulfillment of the metaverse will require three forms of technology.”
“First, wholly accurate and digital duplication, via scanning or digital construction, will need to take place. Next, networks will need to render those physical environments in the cloud or on devices in real-time, making them easy to visit. The third and most challenging will be display technologies that provide a convincing real-world experience.”
What Can We Expect To See?
Even with this partnership being announced 4 months ago, we have not seen any direct results. But from what we can gather, we can expect to see a new Qualcomm chip reasonably soon. Whether this chip is only going to be available to Meta is yet to be announced. But the partnership does not state anything about requiring new chips to be exclusive. So can Meta be the good guy in this situation?
As much as we would want to believe Meta is pioneering this partnership, to make VR and AR experiences for everyone, including their competitors. Unfortunately, that might be a bit too much of a reach. After all, Meta is a company that wants to stay in business, and ultimately, that means making money.
Besides a new chip from Qualcomm, there is one other thing we can get excited about. With a custom chip made with Metaverse apps specifically in mind, we can expect to see a leap in performance in the Metaverse. Even though the Meta Quest Pro has been received reasonably well, there are clearly some growing pains Meta is working through.
New XR Products
Both Meta and Qualcomm are officially working on AR products. But Qualcomm clarified that Snapdragon Spaces is not included in the deal. Snapdragon Spaces is an XR developing platform that empowers developers to create immersive experiences for AR Glasses that adapt to the spaces around us. Meta has also abandoned some products that were supposed to be made with their in-house chipset. This in-house chipset from Meta has also been abandoned.
Two of those most notable products that have been abandoned were a Meta Smartwatch and Ray-Ban Stories. The Ray-Ban Stories is an AR pair of glasses that were supposed to be made with Meta’s own chipset. However, there is a previous generation that came out in 2020 with a Qualcomm chip inside. With the new deal, we are expecting to see an upgraded model for the Ray-Ban stories reasonably soon. As far as we could tell, there has been no movement on the Meta Smartwatch, but we won’t be surprised if it comes out sooner rather than later.
You may be thinking, no big deal, these two companies made a partnership. But what does that mean to me? Although right now, as a consumer, it doesn’t seem like a whole lot, the future seems to hold a lot of exciting news. Especially in the VR and AR space. In the second quarter of 2022, Meta posted a loss of $2.806 billion. Despite that fact, with the new partnership, Meta remains confident that this setback is just that.
Don’t get us wrong, we are not die-hard Meta fans, but more successful products in the XR space makes everything better for all of us consumers. Even if Metaverse doesn’t strike your fancy, VR innovation is something most people can get behind. Who doesn’t want to want the future that Tron envisioned? With better graphics, of course.
We are excited to see what comes of this partnership in the coming years. And we don’t think we are going to see anything in 2022, but maybe by late 2023. In the meantime, we will keep our eyes peeled for new XR news. Especially that rumored in-house Apple VR headset with an M2 chip built in.
- Meta Quest 2 vs Oculus Quest 2: Is There a Difference? Is there more to either device than a mere name change? We reveal all you need to know in this article.
- Oculus Quest 2: Price, Specs, and if it’s Worth Buying: It promises an unparalleled VR experience. But just how capable is it of living up to the hype? Discover all you need to know, here.
- The Quest Pro VR Headset: Release Date, and Everything Else We Know: Transmission of facial expressions onto your avatar’s, passthrough technology for interaction with in game objects. Find out what more there is to the new Quest headset.