Qualcomm’s new headset design shows off the XR2 VR platform

Qualcomm announced the XR2 virtual reality platform at its Snapdragon Summit in December, but now the company is revealing a new reference design for the chipset. The design was built by electronics company Goertek, and shows off a number of the chipset’s capabilities — including support for up to seven cameras.

The headset itself looks like previous-generation VR headsets, but it offers a whole lot more performance under the hood. Notably, the headset supports 5G connectivity, along with two times the CPU and GPU performance, four times the video bandwidth, and six times the resolution of headsets powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 mixed reality platform.

While Qualcomm has shipped the XR1 VR platform, the Snapdragon 835 is more widely used in real-world headsets.

As mentioned, the headset offers an impressive seven cameras — and two of those cameras are internal, and used for eye tracking. Eye-tracking features help ensure that a headset is able to generate more accurate depth maps — making for a more realistic experience.

When it comes to resolution, the reference design offers one 2K display per eye — though the XR2 platform is technically able to support resolutions of up to 3K per eye.

Perhaps the most important feature on offer by the headset is 5G connectivity. 5G and virtual reality are often associated with each other, because of the fact that with 5G, headsets could offload some of the processing, helping make them more portable and lighter.

Unfortunately, the reference design is just that — a reference design. That means that it won’t be sold to regular people, so you won’t be able to get one for yourself. That said, according to a report from The Verge, Qualcomm expects to ship an XR2-powered headset to customers by the end of the year.

When Qualcomm launched the XR2, it also announced that it was working with Pokémon Go developer Niantic on augmented reality experience that will likely incorporate the XR2 platform. At its What’s Next in 5G event, the company also brought Facebook hardware lead Rafa Camargo on stage, who suggested that the two were working together on an XR2-powered headset. Facebook owns virtual reality headset manufacturer Oculus.

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