Meta’s Chip Deal With Qualcomm For Custom Metaverse Apps

Meta’s Chip Deal With Qualcomm For Custom Metaverse Apps

Key Facts

  • 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.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What chips does Meta use?

The Meta Quest 2 headset currently uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR2 chipset. Since its rebrand in 2021, Facebook-parent Meta has staked its future on the metaverse — a term that encompasses virtual and augmented reality technology — to have people working and playing in digital worlds shortly.

Does Qualcomm make chips?

Qualcomm does make an absolute ton of chips. Not only for VR headsets, but unless you are using an iPhone or Google phone, you probably have a Qualcomm chip inside your smartphone. Qualcomm provided more than 31% of the processor chips running on smartphones in India in the calendar year 2021

What is Snapdragon spaces?

The Snapdragon Spaces platform is built upon cutting-edge and proven machine perception technology. This technology provides environmental and user understanding capabilities optimized for performance and low power consumption to enable the next generation of AR Glasses.

Who owns most metaverse?

No one owns the entire metaverse network. Metaverse is not a real physical thing that you can own. It is a virtual 3D world where everyone can participate. There are different metaverses created by different people or teams.

Is Snapdragon better than Apple?

Comparing the Snapdragon and Apple’s Bionic A16 chip, Apple comes out the winner but only slightly. That being said, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is the fastest and most efficient chip in any Android smartphone. So if you don’t want to use an iPhone and Android phone with a Snapdragon 8+ inside, it will be a great option.

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