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Qualcomm unveils VR reference platform

Qualcomm unveils VR reference platform

Qualcomm has introduced its first virtual reality reference platform, the Qualcomm Snapdragon VR820.

The platform is designed to help developers and manufacturers create amazing VR devices and experiences. The Snapdragon VR820 includes an array of advanced features that are designed to help create those immersive experiences that make VR truly engaging: integrated eye tracking with two cameras, motion to photon latency less than 18ms, dual front-facing cameras for six degrees of freedom (6DOF) and see-through applications, four microphones, gyro, and accelerometer and magnetometer sensors. And all of this can be showcased in a sleek, comfortable design.

Based on the Snapdragon 820 processor, the Snapdragon VR820 enables OEMs to quickly develop standalone head mounted displays (HMDs) optimized for VR content and applications while meeting the processing and performance demands of an all-in-one, dedicated VR headset.

Qualcomm’s reference VR headset.

“Consumers everywhere are captivated by truly immersive VR experiences, and Qualcomm Technologies’ capabilities in graphics, displays, video, audio, computer vision and sensor technologies, as well as power and thermal efficiencies proven over years of smartphone innovation, uniquely positions us to help customers bring these experiences to life,” said Anthony Murray, senior vice president and general manager, IoT, Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd.

“The Snapdragon VR820 integrates key technologies and features for an exceptional VR experience and provides a springboard for OEMs and developers to usher in the  next generation of truly portable and untethered devices that we think are necessary for mass consumer adoption of VR.”

Developed with Goertek, a leading global ODM, the Snapdragon VR820 includes advanced features such as integrated eye tracking with two cameras, dual front facing cameras for six degrees of freedom (6DOF) and see-through applications, four microphones, gyro, accelerometer, and magnetometer sensors, all contained in an elegant, sleek and comfortable design.

The reference platform combines Goertek’s innovative system design including mechanical, electrical, optical, acoustic, and firmware development with the groundbreaking computing, graphics, sensor fusion, audio, connectivity, power management, VR software and system capabilities of the Snapdragon 820.

The platform is built upon the groundbreaking Snapdragon VR Software Development Kit (SDK) providing OEMs and developers with access to optimized, advanced VR features, to help simplify development and improve VR performance and power efficiency with the Snapdragon 820 for standalone VR HMDs.

Qualcomm Adren 530 GPU for next-generation console-quality VR gaming and apps, while delivering up to 40 percent improvement to graphics performance and compute capabilities compared to its predecessor

  • Smooth, stereoscopic 3D, with foveated rendering, and support for the latest graphics APIs
  • 1440×1440 resolution per eye, AMOLED panel that supports up to 70Hz
  • 360° 4K video playback processing with HEVC compression and display refresh rates at 70 FPS
  • Qualcomm TruPalette display gamut mapping, color enhancement comprehensive control over colors
  • Qualcomm EcoPix pixel compression, with variable refresh for extended battery life

Sound Quality:

  • Stereo, binaural positional audio, and 3D surround sound, powered by Qualcomm Aqstic audio technologies
  • Four microphones with Fluence HD noise filtering and active noise cancellation

Intuitive Interactions:

  • Dual Qualcomm Spectra camera ISPs combined with Qualcomm Hexagon DSP for advanced vision features such as look-through imaging and 3D reconstruction, eye-tracking and hand gestures
  • Predictive, monocular visual motion tracking with full 6DOF at 800Hz for smooth tracking of head motion in movement as well as rotation
  • Ultra-fast sensing, processing with average motion to photon latency under 18ms

Computing power:

  • Custom-designed 64-bit Qualcomm Kryo quad-core CPU for high-performance computing
  • Integrated Hexagon 680 DSP for efficiently processing advanced vision, audio, and Qualcomm All-Ways Aware™ ultra-low power “always-on” sensor technology without impacting CPU processing load

The Snapdragon VR820 is anticipated to be available in Q4 2016 with the first commercial devices based on the platform expected to be available shortly thereafter.

About The Author


The Editor is a technology journalist with 15 years experience of covering telecoms and media.

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