Qualcomm, the leading smartphone chipset manufacturer, announced at Mobile World Congress 2022 its release of the new platform and ecosystem called Snapdragon XR Spaces. Furthermore, they also announced a partnership with Pico Interactive to develop immersive experiences through extended reality. Effectively, looking to expand its move into XR by developing an ecosystem where producers and users can interact and create.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipset and platform for smartphones are well-known as the backbone and go-to solution for the majority of smartphones out today and now is trying to be the go-to choice for extended reality as well.
Originally announced at AWE21, the Snapdragon XR Spaces is a developer platform that enables developers to build advanced wearable AR functionalities. As Qualcomm calls it a “cross-device horizontal platform and ecosystem.”
As Qualcomm said in their original press release, “Snapdragon Spaces enables developers to build 3D applications for AR glasses from scratch or simply add head-worn AR features to existing Android smartphone applications to drive a unified, multi-screen experience between the smartphone screen in 2D and the real world in 3D”.
Qualcomm already has one significant partner in extended reality in the form of Meta. However, Qualcomm, like its smartphone sector, is not restricting its XR development partnerships to a single firm.
“We too are committed to building solutions that empower developers and creators with Qualcomm’s decade-long extended reality leadership. We look forward to our future Pico devices that are powered by Snapdragon Spaces XR developer platforms.” As Rubo Liang, CEO of Pico says in an accompanying announcement video during Qualcomm’s MWC 2022 keynote.
The significant partnership announcement between Qualcomm and Pico signals that the interplay between hardware and software will be crucial to find success. By partnering with Pico, their future headsets and the software will be inseparable, optimized fully for success and the future promises of extended reality.
“We are excited about the fact that we will be working together on hardware, software and technology roadmaps to enable the ecosystem for Pico.” – Rubo Liang, CEO of Pico.
The competition of XR ecosystems will be one of the defining developments we will be seeing in virtual and augmented reality. As Cristiano Amon, CEO of Qualcomm, says, “A lot of new ecosystems are embracing this technology and how they are gonna evolve their apps in the cloud, whether it is consumer or enterprise.”
As Qualcomm and Pico enter into a partnership aiming to develop a compelling ecosystem for developers, enterprises, and consumers alike, the competition of extended reality platforms and ecosystems is stiffening.
Google, from previous rumors, has suggested that they are currently developing its ecosystem of a VR/AR application store: likely aiming to target both consumers and enterprises.
Furthermore, Finnish Varjo, the renowned extended reality leader for enterprises, has its developer platform positioning itself on a seamless transition between real and digital reality.
Chinese Nreal is also planning to enter into the platform-ecosystem model with its Nebula platform, focusing on consumers assisted reality (aR) media consumption.
Lastly, Meta with its own VR/AR app store is pushing towards a social platform of synchronous content: a metaverse.
Qualcomm has announced the launch of its extended reality ecosystem: Snapdragon XR Spaces platform.
This announcement came during Mobile World Congress 2022 while further announcing a significant partnership with Pico to develop immersive XR experiences. With this move, Qualcomm looks to expand its presence in the XR market and create an ecosystem where producers and users can interact and create. Such a launch effectively stiffens the competition for other platforms and ecosystems in the extended reality market.
In any case, the partnership between Qualcomm and Pico tells of a compelling case for a capable ecosystem of XR content, making the experience with the Pico roster of headsets even better for consumers in China and enterprises in the West alike.
Jakob Pii is Writer at VR Expert and currently lives in the UK. He started his career in VR gaming in 2015 and has stayed in XR since, from exposure therapy in VR to 360-degree video documentaries. He is fascinated by how emerging technologies change how we live, play and work.