Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon XR1 chip, announced via a Tuesday press release, aims to break down the barrier for high-quality virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) and bring the technologies to lower-end devices.

If successful, the XR1 chip could improve technologies found in modern smart glasses, and make VR and AR more affordable to get into for smaller companies. The chip could also help bring more artificial intelligence (AI) functionality into AR as well, the release noted.

In its release, Qualcomm called the XR1 an Extended Reality (XR) platform, noting that it will help bring higher quality experiences to mass-produced devices. And the addition of the AI capabilities will provide “better interactivity, power consumption and thermal efficiency,” the release said.

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The XR1 features an ARM-based multi-core CPU, a vector processor, a GPU, and a dedicated AI engine for on-board processing. A software layer with dedicated machine learning, connectivity, and security is also part of the platform, the release said.

The chip can handle up to 4K definition at 60 frames per second, according to the release. It also supports OpenGL, OpenCL, and Vulkan, and its AI capabilities contribute to computer vision features.

Other hallmarks of the XR1 are high-fidelity audio and six-degrees of freedom (6DoF) head tracking and controller capabilities, making it easier to get around in the virtual world.

“As technology evolves and consumer demand grows, we envision XR devices playing a wider variety of roles in consumers’ and workers’ daily lives,” Alex Katouzian, senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm’s Mobile Business Unit, said in the release.

OEMs like Meta, VIVE, Vuzix, and Picoare are already building on the XR1 platform, the release said.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • Qualcomm has unveiled the Snapdragon XR1 chip, which could bring high-quality AR and VR experiences to more users, at a lower cost.
  • The Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 features an on-board AI engine to boost computer vision capabilities in AR applications.