Qualcomm unveils VR reference design, AI Engine for Snapdragon 845

Qualcomm's sample headset teases what's next for mobile VR

In other words, the 845 is a big deal for standalone VR headsets.
This comprehensively integrated single-chip solution is created to offer manufacturers a highly efficient way of controlling and managing the truly wireless connection to the earbuds and is available in an ultra-small form factor wafer-level 4mm x 4mm CSP package along with a comprehensive suite of software (Audio Development Kit) to support the development of new generation, highly compact, feature-rich wireless earbuds and hearables. And it enables simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) to detect objects in the real world and either avoid them or integrate them into the virtual environment.The SLAM will be wireless, without the external sensors needed for PC-based VR today, and it enables "room-scale VR". "The 845 chip for AR and VR is the next step".

In our experience, smartphone-powered VR headsets can be occasionally fiddly to get going and the handset can get quite warm making the whole VR experience feel less than futuristic. Key benefits include Gigabit 4G LTE connectivity, near-instantaneous wake from sleep, background downloads, and "all-day" battery life.

Thanks to the Adreno 630, the headset exhibits 30 percent faster graphics performance, 30 percent better power efficiency, and more than twice as much display throughput compared to the Snapdragon 835 reference headset. It keeps those parts of the picture sharp and clear, while the rest of the imagery outside of your field of view is blurry. With the help of gaze tracking technology, Qualcomm can pinpoint where you're looking and target that zone for high fidelity rendering while displaying the outer regions in lower quality, thus freeing up valuable computational resources.




The headset has four cameras, two facing inwards to track eye movements, and two outer facing ones. These features are now set to include "foveated rendering" (VR eye tracking) and support for room-scale VR experiences. The company hasn't said how many devices can receive audio at any one time, although Anthony Murray, senior vice president and general manager, voice and music, Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd, says "hundred" of teenagers could potentially listen to the same song via headphones as a "silent disco".

"The reference design is a key component that takes our latest chips and enables software features", Swart said. In addition to US, UK and Australian Microsoft Stores, you should see these relatively affordable and decently powerful 2-in-1s sold through Amazon, China's JD.com, Italy's Unieuro, France's Boulanger and Fnac, as well as UK's BT Shop, John Lewis and PC World starting "this calendar quarter".

He added, "We want you to have the same level of freedom that you see in a PC system, with no cables".

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