Qualcomm’s Market Alternative: The Android of AR Glasses?

Whereas everyone seems to be seeking to Apple’s VisionPro to take Augmented Reality mainstream, Qualcomm has been quietly creating the expertise to take over an enormous market alternative for years. 

As I defined in this article, constructing AR glasses is difficult, very exhausting. The AR glasses all of us need inherently have many competing calls for, typically centering across the battery and kind issue. You desire a bigger subject of view? It wants an even bigger battery. You need higher monitoring? Larger battery. Higher graphics? Larger battery. You wish to put on it for hours? Larger battery with longer battery life. Oh wait, it’s too heavy? Which means smaller battery, smaller subject of view, smaller processor. Balancing this equation has been the bane of many machine producers’ existence.

Moreover, only a few producers have the vertical integration capabilities required to supply an ideal person expertise – you want tight integration of the cameras, silicon, reminiscence, shows, kind issue and UX.

iOS vs Android, the Sequel

Only some corporations have the tight integration talked about above end-to-end, these being Google and Apple, however there are a number of corporations on the planet that do have the potential to deal with an enormous phase of the stack, and that is the place the chance lies.

However first, let me take you all the best way again to 2007, when Google acquired Android. Again then, Android was a tiny startup few individuals had heard about, and the iPhone was solely starting to make waves. Quick ahead to at this time, and Android runs on 71% of the world’s mobile devices. Android could be discovered on $30 telephones present in Africa, all the best way as much as the Galaxy-class Samsung telephones that compete with the highest-end iPhones. 

Whereas Apple dominates the high-end smartphone market, and the high-end laptop computer marketplace for that matter (and earphones, and tablets, and watches), there’s a very wholesome marketplace for the long-tail. And what powers nearly all of the long-tail? Android. Android allowed the {hardware} OEMs to give attention to their distinctive capability, constructing telephones, whereas Android took care of every part else – fundamental apps like e mail, an app retailer, safety, and many others.  

And so is the chance with AR glasses. Whereas everybody expects Apple to construct the AR glasses that can lastly break into the mainstream market, there is a chance to be the Android of AR glasses.

Qualcomm’s Thrilling Market Alternative 

Now, constructing a vertically built-in {hardware} platform is considerably harder than constructing an working system resembling Android. And that is the place Qualcomm has a singular alternative.

Qualcomm’s XR2 chip was behind the revolution of shopper VR, powering the Meta Quest lineup. Earlier than the XR2 chip, head-mounted monitoring concerned a variety of not nice options, however shifting the computations into {hardware} contributed to creating shopper VR viable. 

Coming again to the competing calls for I discussed earlier – one answer to the battery downside is to make every part extra environment friendly. To try this, you want higher chips, and chips which are purpose-built and near the {hardware}. That is the place Qualcomm’s AR2 chip is available in.

Qualcomm’s AR2 chip is  a multi-chip platform, able to optimizing the computations for notion, AI and graphics in a single chip, whereas offloading different computations to a telephone over a excessive bandwidth, low latency Wifi 7 connection. Basically, which means this structure unifies a good portion of the stack I discussed above – a good integration with the cameras, silicon, reminiscence, shows, and kind issue.

And identical to Android, Qualcomm is working with OEMs to do what they’re uniquely good at – constructing {hardware}. And that is the ultimate piece – Snapdragon Areas. Similar to Android, Snapdragon Areas permits app builders to put in writing as soon as, run anyplace, on any Android telephone.

Qualcomm might construct the following Android for AR Glasses

The chance forward for Qualcomm is for Areas to develop into the Android for AR Glasses. By leveraging their distinctive place to optimize every part required for AR Glasses, and dealing with OEMs, everybody who needs to compete with Apple will search for a platform able to supporting their imaginative and prescient. 

For OEMs, the best way to distinguish themselves from opponents can be on kind issue. For instance, in the event you’re searching for a subject service use case, you’ll desire a lighter, cheaper set of glasses, and also you’ll possible accept a much less succesful machine. For heavy manufacturing, you’ll need security glasses and exact hologram alignment, leading to a heavier, however extra succesful machine. This is able to be analogous to ruggedized units at this time, however with AR glasses, the chance to distinguish for particular person use instances can be far more compelling.

For app builders like Scope AR, that is thrilling, as a result of constructing a spatial app that may run WorkLink’s work directions, with a uniform person interface, signifies that we will spend much less time sustaining particular person code bases, and extra time innovating and constructing options prospects need. Each buyer has distinctive {hardware} necessities, and the extra number of AR glasses on the market, the extra the advantages of AR can attain entrance line staff.

It’s an thrilling time for augmented actuality throughout, and we will’t wait to see this inflection level take off over the following few years! 

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