Qualcomm is serious about positioning the Snapdragon 835 as a platform for VR, providing the power needed to have an immersive virtual environment without the need to be tethered to a computer like HTC Vive or Oculus Rift.
With Snapdragon 835 due to power 2017's leading smartphones, the company is also announcing a new VR development kit, designed to help manufacturers develop and launch VR products.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 VR head mounted display packs in impressive specs:
- 2560 x 1440 pixel AMOLED display, split between both eyes
- Stereo fisheye cameras for motion tracking
- Gyroscope, accelerometer, compass for motion tracking
- Two cameras for eye tracking
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage
- Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB for power
- Trackpad on right-hand side
That's the spec for a pretty hardcore smartphone right there, now all packed into a headset to give you an untethered VR experience. Qualcomm says that some of the magic comes from the Snapdragon Sensor Core that can process all this information to give you natural and linked physical movements within the virtual world.
Qualcomm has also announced that it is partnering with Leap Motion, leading to the development of bare hands virtual world interaction without the need for a physical controller.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 VR dev kit will be available to developers from Q2 2017, with an aim to seeing products hitting the market in the second half of 2017 based on the platform.
Supporting that aim, Qualcomm has also announced the Qualcomm Technologies HMD Accelerator Program. This will provide OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) with the tools they need to quickly bring VR products to market, by providing not only reference hardware, but all the component parts needed, as well as access to the experience they need to transform the reference design into a final product.
The result could be more VR device hitting the market later in 2017, but they might not all be in the consumer arena - VR is also being put to use in a number of technical, medical and educational sectors.