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Qualcomm wants to make VR and AR headsets function with 5G mobile devices

Qualcomm, the manufacturer of chips, is launching a medium for mobile devices which are powered with AR and VR headsets that depends on 5G connections. At Mobile World Congress today, Qualcomm has declared this scheme, stating that it would enhance mobile devices with AR and VR, together known as XR, into the markets this year.

The company will specifically design “XR-optimised” program for mobiles with the help of Snapdragon 855 processors. This processor will function with any headset. Till date, we have got two viewers- the Acer OJO, a VR headset launched in August last year, and the Nreal Light MR glasses that were released in January at CES and many are expected to launch in 2019. Qualcomm is taking the help of an accelerator program to encourage XR headsets development, but the firm has not disclosed any design for its allies, unlike its earlier program VR-specific ecosystem. The Nreal Light and Acer OJO products are not alike. The latter was declared as a Windows MR device. The entire theme shows that AR and VR viewers will get their personal displays, but they will get the opportunity to operate apps using a mobile with a USB-C cable. This combines the advantages of both phone and tethered headsets.

Qualcomm XR Viewer / Image Credit: Qualcom

The concept is not new. In 2016, LG launched a USB-C-tethered VR headset. However, Qualcomm is stating that wearers will see better quality media with 5G connections, making phones appear fascinating. As per Hugo Swart, the head of product management, Mobile XR possesses the capability to become as huge as smartphone devices, providing an opportunity to Qualcomm. He further stated that Qualcomm is emphasizing on using 5G mobiles as a device to expand immersive experiences.

Qualcomm Snapdragon / Image Credit: Qualcomm

A small number of network providers have supported the efforts of the company, among them, include Korean providers SK Telecom, American carrier Sprint, Swiss company Swisscom, LG U+ and Australian telecom Telstra. Qualcomm recommends that these network providers can gain advantage from hardware which can illustrate the advantage of 5G connections.

VR has a wide variety of video apps and games. Whereas, AR is not tested as a mass-market tool. Mobile-powered glasses are lighter than their counterparts, but display hardware and cameras are still required, making them look heavy and old-fashioned.

According to Swart, the AR glasses from first-generation are worth purchasing as it allows users to have a hands-free screen experience even in the subway. Basically, you can take out your phone even in a crowded location. Nreal’s glasses were praised because of their low-key designs and display of superior quality. This is a fair niche for a device costing $1000. However, Qualcomm had no pieces of information about the cost of XR equipment.

Despite that, it is nice to witness Qualcomm and its allies promote a diverse range of devices which are compatible with Androids that are newly launched. Augmented reality and Virtual reality are assumed to gain profits from 5G networks, whenever these technologies are ready for mass usage.

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